Federal Employees Unions Reach Deal with Federal Government to End the Strike
Recent news on the union strike and agreement.
This week saw the federal government reach tentative deals with both the Public Servants Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE). The UTE which is a subset of PSAC, specifically representing workers at the CRA, held out a little longer for a deal, but by today, deals have been reached with both the UTE and the broader public servants union.
PSAC and its component unions went into the strike asking for a wage increase of 13.5% over three years, backdated to 2021, as negotiations have actually been ongoing since then for wage increases. The federal government had countered with an offer for 9%, which was rejected by the union, leading to a strike. Now, the federal government has agreed to a 12.6% wage increase over 4 years, as well as a one-time bonus to public servants to compensate for the stagnant wage period since 2021 while negotiations have been ongoing.
The other major item agreed to was a re-working of the terms around remote work. The Federal government caused a stir earlier this year when it announced that it would be requiring all employees to work at least partially in-office after several years of most departments making in-person work optional. Now, the government will be required to: “assess remote work requests individually, not by group, and provide written responses that will allow members and PSAC to hold the employer accountable to equitable and fair decision making on remote work”. The deal also includes an agreement to create a joint union-employer panel to address issues related to how remote work policies are applied.
Remote Work Considerations
Of note is that the decision to adjust the approach to remote work will not be included in the official collective bargaining agreement, something which the federal government insisted be the case, and thus, decisions relating to remote work are broadly not issues which PSAC can take legal action on.
Decisions on remote work are still decisions which are made entirely by the government, but they must provide justification and not apply policies to entire departments.