'We do good work, so we deserve good wages'

These days, Nkumu Assana Kirika and his family’s budget is a bit tighter. The culprit? Canada’s skyrocketing inflation.

“Transportation, housing, groceries… Most of my paycheque goes towards these bills, so there’s nothing left over for savings. It’s hard.”

Nkumu even had to pause certain activities he used to do regularly, like visiting family in Montreal, two hours away from his home in the National Capital Region.

“It’s been months since I’ve seen my family because I can’t afford going to Montreal.”

Nkumu is a member of the PA Group and is proud to work as a program officer in Health Canada’s surveillance and compliance unit. He has been keeping a close eye on ongoing Treasury Board bargaining for a new collective agreement. His priority is securing fair wages that will give people like him a bit of breathing room.

As PSAC works to secure gains for its members at the bargaining table, Nkumu has noticed his employer disregarding key issues and demanding major concessions. Yet to keep up with rampant inflation, public service workers cannot concede on fair wages or good working conditions.

“I work for the government. The government pays me. But the government is stalling. They’re to blame here.”

Fighting to secure good conditions for everyone

Remote work and better anti-racism and discrimination provisions are also key issues for Nkumu and thousands of other public service workers in this round of bargaining. But he thinks about all the members he works with when considering bargaining demands.

“Why can’t we have conditions that benefit everyone? Why can’t we have good salaries?”

Nkumu and his union are ready to go on strike to get the employer’s attention.

“We’re going to fight for our rights. We’ll go on strike if we have to, because we need good working conditions to keep doing our jobs.”

PSAC has committed to escalating its actions across the country. If the government isn’t prepared to negotiate a contract that protects workers from the rising cost of living in this country, a strike is on the table.

Stay informed and engaged

Getting involved and taking action are key as PSAC is pushing for a fair contract. To stay informed and engaged during this round of negotiations, use the Treasury Board bargaining toolkit.



November 17, 2022