Canada’s striking workers closer to resolving wage, remote work issues

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By Divya Rajagopal

TORONTO  (Reuters) – A strike by about 155,000 Canadian federal government workers is closer to a resolution, with progress made on remote work and wage increases for Treasury Board employees, the union said.

The strike is scheduled to continue for now amid ongoing talks about a deal for revenue agency workers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) said in a statement. The union has said it will “escalate” its actions on Monday.

A wide range of public services from tax returns to passport renewals have been hit since last Wednesday, when 120,000 Treasury Board workers and 35,000 revenue agency staff represented by the PSAC went on strike.

“At Treasury Board we made some headway on remote work language, and both sides have moved in order to get closer to a resolution on wage increases,” said Chris Aylward, National President of PSAC.

The talks with the government about wage increases for revenue agency workers, who oversee tax returns, have not made progress, he added.

The revenue agency workers wanted a pay hike of 22.5% over three years, while the Treasury Board workers who oversee federal government administration were seeking a 13.5% pay rise over three years. The government offered both groups a 9% increase over three years.

Canada’s annual inflation rate peaked at 8.1% last year but has since come down to about half of that.

In addition to higher wages, the union is also demanding flexibility to work from home.

A government spokesperson told Reuters on Sunday that it had received an offer from the union the previous evening and presented a counter-offer in response, without providing further details.

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