Over 155,000 PSAC members going on strike

Members of Canada’s largest public sector union will picket line Wednesday.

News of the strike came after the union and the federal government failed to reach an agreement by the union-imposed 9pm deadline on Tuesday night.

The Public Service Confederation of Canada (PSAC) says 155,000 workers, including 35,000 from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), will leave work at 12:01 a.m. on April 19.

“We really hope we won’t be forced into strike action, but we’ve exhausted every other avenue to get a fair contract for Canadian federal public service workers,” PSAC national president Chris Aylward said. “Now more than ever, workers need fair wages, good working conditions and an inclusive workplace. It’s clear that the only way we can achieve this is by taking strike action to show the government that workers can’t wait. “

Picket lines will be set up Wednesday at more than 250 locations across the country.

PSAC members have been without contracts since June 2021. Last week, PSAC announced that more than 120,000 public servants on the Treasury Board had voted “overwhelmingly” to strike, as had 35,000 unionized workers on the CRA.

A big point of contention among members appears to be pay, with unions calling for wage increases to keep pace with inflation and rising costs of living.

The strike will be one of the largest in U.S. history, according to the union. Services across the country could be slowed and shut down entirely, including delays in the processing of income tax and benefit returns within the tax department.

Other affected areas include Employment and Social Development Canada’s passport services, Employment Insurance, Social Security and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) customer assistance, and Old Age Security through Service Canada.

In addition, the processing of applications by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will be affected, and the strike by border agents may be slowed down.

“As we embark on this historic strike, the PSAC negotiating team will be at the table around the clock, as it has been for the past few weeks,” Aylward said. “Once the government is ready to come back to the negotiating table with a fair offer, we are ready to reach a fair deal.”

– Using Miranda Chant’s files

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