Are CRA workers asking for too much of a pay bump?

Union calling for 30% increase on current wages

Are CRA workers asking for too much of a pay bump?

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) workers may be asking too much with their demand for wage increases, according to one group.

Currently, the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) is demanding a three-year wage increase of 20.5%.

This would be on top of a one-time wage adjustment of 9% to account for a long-standing wage imbalance with Canada Border Services Agency employees who administer the Excise Act.

But these demands are “out of touch with reality,” said Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF).

“When Canadians are cutting back on groceries because of inflation, MPs absolutely cannot look taxpayers in the eyes and tell them to pay for huge raises in the bureaucracy,” he said. “Union negotiators are demanding 30 per cent pay hikes over three years and 14 per cent annually when many Canadians are relying on food banks.”

UTE is asking for increases of:

  • 4.5 per cent effective Nov. 1, 2021
  • 8 per cent effective Nov. 1, 2022
  • 8 per cent effective Nov. 1, 2023

Some 35,000 CRA employees will be holding a strike vote at the end of January, and wages and remote work arrangements are part of their main sticking points.

Terrazzano is calling on members of Parliament to speak out against UTE and the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s pay demands.

“Union negotiators need to ask themselves whether it’s right to tell their neighbours to pay for huge raises when everyone’s struggling,” said Terrazzano. “MPs must stand up for their constituents against the government union negotiators."

Imbalance

But the UTE proposal aims to address an imbalance between CRA employees and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), said Marc Brière, UTE president, in a CBC report

He noted that there used to be equal pay between the two agencies when they functioned as one between 1999 and 2003. However, their split created a wage gap of 9%.

"They used to sit side-by-side in the early 2000s. They were the same group and occupation, the same classification, and then making the same amount of money," Brière said.

In 2021, CRA workers made between $41,658 and $121,923, compared to the $64,849 to $135,509 range for CBSA workers, reported CBC.

Also, the biggest wage increase that CRA employees have seen was 3.2% per year from 2000 to 2003, noted UTE.

"People are having a hard time out there to make ends meet and so that's why we're asking for a new contract with decent wage increases," he said.

Requests for pay increases are one of the top challenges for employers, according to a recent report.

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