Common issues bargaining: Wages must keep up with soaring inflation 

PSAC put forward a wage proposal for more than 110,000 federal public service workers that reflects skyrocketing inflation rates across Canada.

The common issues bargaining team proposed a 4.5 per cent wage increase in each year of a three-year agreement during negotiations with Treasury Board in early November.

Inflation rates are at the highest levels seen in more than 18 years, and members deserve a wage increase that keeps up with the rising costs of food, housing, and child care — anything less is a pay cut for federal public service workers. This year, the consumer price index rose 4.7 per cent on a year-over-year basis in October, up from a 4.4 per cent increase in September.

Many employers are recognizing there is a labour shortage and are increasing salaries accordingly to recruit and retain skilled staff. As Canada’s largest employer, Treasury Board needs to take on a leadership role by providing fair wages that recognize the rising cost of living and set the bar for other Canadian employers to help Canadians recover from the pandemic.

Group specific market adjustments, allowances, and grid re-structure proposals were not part of this package and will be submitted separately by the group-specific tables.

Employer refuses to discuss remote work

Treasury Board refused PSAC’s proposal to include remote work provisions in the collective agreement because they feel the inclusion of remote work is unnecessary and language on the right to disconnect is redundant.

Members have flagged work-life balance and the ability to work remotely as key priorities for this round of bargaining. Employees should have a say in when and where they work, and we will continue to push Treasury Board to negotiate terms for remote work and the right to disconnect into our collective agreements where they will be most effective.

New proposals on bilingualism bonus, anti-oppression training, parental leave

PSAC tabled new and revised provisions within the discrimination and sexual harassment articles to ensure our members have access to a fair process. The proposal expands the definition of what is considered harassment to better protect members. It also calls for mandatory training for all employees on the topics of “anti-oppression and discrimination,” and “harassment, sexual harassment, and violence in the workplace.”

Our proposed new training provisions push the employer to appropriately recognize and promote bilingualism in the federal public service, while the proposed increase to the bilingualism bonus aims to improve what is currently offered under the National Joint Council’s Bilingualism Bonus Directive, which has been stagnant for decades.

We also proposed improvements to maternity leave without pay and parental leave without pay to increase the top-up available to employees. We hope this will allow single parents and lowerincome families to better utilize the extended parental benefits option.

Upcoming bargaining dates

The bargaining team meets with the employer again on December 14 and 15, 2021.

The Common Issues table covers  members in the Programs and Administrative Services (PA)Technical Services (TC)Operational Services (SV) and Education and Library Science (EB) bargaining units.

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19 Novembre 2021