Ottawa public servants hit the picket line for Day 1 of general strike

Thousands of Ottawa public servants were out in full force on Wednesday for the first day of a strike by members of Canada’s largest public service union.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada has set up picketing in nine locations across Ottawa and Gatineau after members walked off the job at 12:01 a.m.

Public servants turned up in numbers at several spots across the city to demonstrate as part of what the union is calling one of the largest strikes in Canadian history.

At Tunney’s Pasture, hundreds of public servants picketed outside the LRT station there. A sizeable crowd had gathered on Parliament Hill by 9:30 a.m., with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh joining strikers there.

There was also a large presence outside Treasury Board President Mona Fortier’s constituency office on Montreal Road. Fortier is the member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier.

PSAC also set up a picket line outside Canada Post’s headquarters on Heron Road, although Canada Post employees aren’t part of the strike.

Ottawa police warned commuters to expect traffic disruptions and delays Wednesday morning due to the labour action.

PSAC is requiring members to picket for four hours a day in order to receive strike pay. Members must scan a barcode to prove they showed up to the picket line.

Negotiations are expected to continue despite thousands of PSAC members walking off the job this morning at 12:01 a.m. ET.

The bargaining groups involve some 155,000 federal public servants, including 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers.

A late Tuesday news release from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat says the government and the Public Service Alliance of Canada are still at odds when it comes to key contract issues for both sides.

There are 250 picketing locations across the country.

More to come…

– with files from Natalie van Rooy, Jackie Perez and The Canadian Press

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