From the Associated Press
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Canadian government reached a tentative contract agreement Monday with its largest workers union, ending a 12-day strike by more than 120,000 public servants.
The four-year deal affects a majority of the Public Service Alliance of Canada workers, including immigration workers, administrative personnel across various agencies, maintenance workers, port workers and firefighters.
But some 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers remain on the picket line.
Chris Aylward, the union’s national president, said in a statement that group “held the line” and “secured a fair contract that keeps up with the cost of living, increased protections around remote work and creates safer, more inclusive workplaces.″
Treasury Board President Mona Fortier called the deal “fair and competitive.”
“We negotiated, we compromised and we found creative solutions,” she told a news conference.
Fortier said the deal will increase wages 11.5% over four years and will cost Canadian taxpayers CDN$1.3 billion (US$96 million a year).
The union said the contract agreement secured wage increases totaling 12.6% compounded over four years, along with a one-time, pensionable CDN$2,500 (US$1,896.00) lump sum payment that represents an additional 3.7% of salary for the average union member in Treasury Board bargaining units.
It said members will have access to additional protection when the employer makes arbitrary decisions about remote work, and that managers will have to assess telework requests individually, not by group, and provide written responses.
The union said the tentative deal also addresses its demands regarding seniority rights in the event of layoffs. Also, when there are layoffs, an employee who can carry out work that is being conducted by a hired contractor will not lose their job.
Fortier said talks with the tax agency workers continue.
“They’re still at the table and negotiating as we speak and we’re looking forward to see how this will unfold,” she said.
Public servants had hit picket lines at locations across the country for a dozen days in what the union said was one of the biggest job actions in Canadian history.
Service disruptions loomed large during the strike, from slowdowns at the border to pauses on new employment insurance, immigration and passport applications.
Initial negotiations on a new collective agreement had initially begun in June 2021, and the union had declared an impasse in May 2022, with both parties filing labor complaints since then.