Following more than six months of frustrating talks and delays by the government, PSAC bargaining teams representing 90,000 members finally received some responses to the union’s proposals this past week. The government’s small movements were a noticeable change from previous meetings but they fell significantly short of the progress needed at the table.
Bargaining teams reaffirmed a range of proposals for improving working conditions while also discussing the government’s counterproposals around work-life balance—including compassionate care, bereavement and parental leave—as well as general economic increases.
“We’ve made it clear to the Trudeau government that we expect new Treasury Board President Jane Philpott to have a mandate to reach a fair deal with us,” said PSAC National President, Chris Aylward. “These recent talks were a small first step in that direction, but we expect far more progress at our next session.”
“The modest movement we’ve seen is a result of the pressure and mobilization of our membership in response to the government’s many delays. It’s clear we need to not only keep up the pressure, but ramp it up in the weeks and months to come.”
“We are now on the eve of the third anniversary of the Phoenix pay system disaster and our members continue delivering the quality public services Canadians rely on every day, even as they wait to get paid correctly. They shouldn’t also have to wait for the fair working conditions they deserve. The clock is ticking.”
Treasury Board also decided that it will no longer negotiate issues of concern to all four bargaining groups at a common table. While this approach needlessly makes for less efficient negotiations, all four bargaining teams will move forward with a joint and unified approach to negotiating all common issues, even if it happens at separate tables.
This past week’s sessions were held between February 12 and 14 and covered four bargaining units under Treasury Board: Program & Administrative Services (PA), Technical Services (TC), Operations Services (SV), and Education & Library Science (EB).
The next bargaining meetings will be held from March 19 to 21 in Ottawa.
The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.