Justin Tang The Canadian Press “We must remain on the picket lines until we obtain the good agreement that our members deserve,” said Chris Aylward, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), at a press conference on Saturday.
Chris Aylward, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), is calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene in the negotiations. He also denounced, on Saturday, the slowness of the current negotiations between the union and the government.
During a press conference, Mr. Aylward declared that the union had presented a series of proposals on Thursday to the federal negotiators, but they have not yet replied.
He attacked the president of the Treasury Board, Mona Fortier. “This vividly demonstrates the incompetence of Mona Fortier and her team,” he told reporters. The Prime Minister did nothing to advance the negotiations. Our members are fed up.”
Ms. Fortier's office reacted an hour later, saying it had tried in vain to meet with the union on Friday. A meeting scheduled for Saturday afternoon was canceled nine minutes after it was agreed.
He acknowledged having received new offers while questioning the chronology proposed by Mr. Aylward. He also said he was unable to join the union at the bargaining table all day Friday. He finally succeeded on Saturday through a mediator. He intended to present a counter-offer at 1 p.m., but he accuses the union of having torpedoed this plan.
“PSAC took three hours to respond to the request, accepting the meeting at 12:31 p.m., then at 12:40 p.m., indicating that it was no longer available at that time. While our negotiators and our offer waited, Mr. Aylward preferred to go on television to complain that he had not received the offer,” in a message posted by Ms. Fortier on Twitter.
The firm says it found that the union “had changed little” in its demands. However, talks resumed after the PSAC press conference.
The nearly 155,000 PSAC members went on strike across the country on Wednesday. According to the union, almost a third of the federal public service has stopped work. During the strike, essential services are provided, including border services and correctional services, the Alliance has already indicated.
Mr. Aylward took the opportunity of the press conference to offer a few words of encouragement to the strikers: “Stay strong! Don't let them wear us out. We must stay on the picket lines until we get the good agreement that our members deserve.”
The Secretariat of the Treasury Board revealed on Monday that it had improved its salary offer in order to collect Alliance membership. It is now offering a 9% raise over three years. But the Alliance deemed this insufficient, asking for 4.5% per year for three years.
The union is demanding bigger wage increases and improved working conditions. It also asks that its members always have the possibility of working from home.
On Thursday, the Federal Public Sector Labor Relations and Employment Board was concerned about the low rate of turnout in the strike vote that led more than 100,000 civil servants to walk off the job this week.
She found that the PSAC failed to properly inform its members that it had shortened the voting period by eight days, moving the end of the strike vote from April 19 to April 11.
About 35 % of bargaining unit members voted, or 38,207 people, but 80% of them were in favor of giving a strike mandate to their union executive.
Despite this, the board did not cancel the vote, as it is very likely that the result would have been in favor of the strike, since the support was very high among those who voted.
Mr. Aylward acknowledged that it was unfortunate that not all union members had the chance to participate in the vote.
“Increasing participation is an issue for all unions, organizations and governments, big or small. PSAC provided the opportunity for a large sample of members to exercise their right to vote. We held close to 100 meetings for the vote.”
He adds that the union publicized the vote through email, social media, digital ads and word of mouth. -ear.