Statement from PSAC National President Chris Aylward:
Over the last two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, PSAC members have been on the frontlines battling the virus and delivering emergency financial support to millions of Canadians. They continue to provide these critical services, they do so without a new contract, and many have not seen wage increases for up to four years.
It’s time for the federal government to fix this by heading back to the bargaining table and reaching a settlement for over 140,000 public service workers.
PSAC members are putting Canadians first during this unprecedented crisis. They work around the clock to deliver benefits, and they face the virus head-on every day at our borders, in our federal penitentiaries, in meat packing plants as they inspect our food, and the list goes on. Thousands have also stepped forward to do completely new jobs wherever there has been a need to support the government’s relief efforts. They want to keep working but they also want a fair contract.
Elsewhere in Canada, the need to provide stability and fair compensation to public service workers during this pandemic has been recognized. The government of Ontario bargained and settled with its teachers' unions in the first weeks of the crisis, and the Quebec government is at the bargaining table with unions representing over 500,000 public sector workers. Even large federal employers like Canada Post reached a tentative agreement with PSAC members just days ago.
And in response to the pandemic the government implemented massive changes at lightning speed across the public service (with the help of PSAC members), yet they have refused to move forward on the comparably modest task of settling a round of bargaining.
There is no reason for the federal government to delay. Canadians need a stable public service that is well supported during this difficult time, and our members certainly deserve to have their basic right to a fair contract respected.
We should also keep in mind that these are the same workers who continue to experience four years of Phoenix pay nightmares and have yet to be compensated for their hardships.
We are urging the federal government to get their negotiators back to the table with a mandate to reach a fair settlement to the benefit of PSAC members and all Canadians.