PSAC strike: President ‘hopeful’ a deal will be struck soon with feds
The president of the nation’s largest civil servants union has said he “hopes” to reach an agreement with the federal government soon as more than 155,000 federal workers continue to strike.
Chris Isleward, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), spoke to the CTV News Channel on Sunday, reiterating his call to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to participate.
“We still believe that the prime minister should intervene at this point because we know the strike is having an impact on the economy,” he said. “Certainly, we are trying to minimize the impact on Canadians, but certainly our members, if we do not come to an agreement tonight, we will unfortunately be back on the picket line tomorrow.”
Aylward originally said he had not heard from the federal government for two days and asked Trudeau for his opinion during a media response on Saturday.
Finance Committee Chairman Mona Fortier responded on Twitter, claiming the federal government tried to submit a counter-proposal on Saturday.
According to Aylward, this is not what actually happened.
“Thursday night we gave our employers a comprehensive package and figured that would get us on the deal,” he said. Friday came and went.”
At 11 a.m. Saturday, still without hearing from the federal government, Aylward said they had decided to schedule media availability at 1:15 p.m. Please join the meeting at 1 o’clock to avoid media availability. “
The Treasury Department is currently proposing a 9% pay increase over three years for affected employees, while the PSAC is seeking a 13.5% pay increase over three years and remote work protection.
“If they really want to reach an agreement, they have to start taking this seriously and basically address these issues in a more timely manner, not taking 30 or 35 hours to respond. We have to start,” said Aylward.
Aylward says morale is high among union members, despite negotiation difficulties that Fortier described Sunday as “kicking and screaming”.
“Over 100,000 members joined the picket line last week, and the spirit and morale of the members is very good,” he said.
“All of our negotiating teams, our four Finance Committee negotiating teams, and the CRA negotiating team are all here in Ottawa. We all meet face to face. Please stay here at the hotel and we will work with the mediator.”
He acknowledged that it may take more moves on both sides to reach an agreement, but said there are certain core components they are strongly trying to maintain.
“That’s why it’s called negotiation. Both sides have to compromise and we’re looking at it,” he said. “We hope to reach an agreement, but the government must return to the negotiating table, ensuring that its obligations are consistent with what we are asking, especially with respect to wages. Somewhat consistent with the rate of inflation.
“We are separated on some important issues, but we will continue to work. Like I said, we will stay here. Our goal is to reach an agreement. It’s our goal, from day one.”