PSAC releases new details on tentative agreements for federal workers

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says tentative four-year contract agreements with the federal government provide workers with $23,000 more, on average, in their pockets by the end of the agreement.

The agreements reached last week to end strikes by more than 155,000 federal public servants also includes increased shift premiums for some workers, protections against contracting out, and “the strongest remote work protections in the federal public service,” according to PSAC.

Canada’s largest public sector union released more details this weekend about the tentative agreements reached last week with Treasury Board and the Canada Revenue Agency to end one of the largest strikes in Canadian history.

PSAC reached an agreement on May 1 to end the 12-day strike by 110,000 workers in the Treasury Board, while the PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees finalized a tentative last Thursday to end a 15-day strike by 55,000 Canada Revenue Agency employees.

“Strike action greatly improves final wage offer and other benefits,” PSAC said in letters to union members on Sunday. “Beating the pre-strike three-year offer.” While PSAC had been seeking a three-year contract during negotiations, the union says the fourth year “meets projected inflation.”

PSAC says members will be invited to participate in online ratification votes in the coming days. The Canadian Employment and Immigration Union has launched a ‘Vote No’ campaign, urging members to reject the deal.

Here’s a look at the tentative agreement, according to PSAC.

Extra $23,000 for members over four years, union says

PSAC says the agreement for both Treasury Board and Canada Revenue Agency workers includes a 12.6 per cent compounded wage increase over four year, along with a $2,500 pensionable lump sump payment.

“The dollars add up – $23,000 more on average in your pocket,” PSAC tells its members.

The union says for PSAC members in the Program and Administrative Services, Education and Library Science Group, Technical Services and Operational Services groups, a 12.6 per cent wage increase would add an average of $8,473 to the base salary by 2024. 

PSAC says if you add up the yearly salary increases, along with the $2,500 lump-sum payment, the average PSAC member will receive an additional $23,000 over the four-year deal (based on an average Treasury Board member’s salary of $67,305).

According to the chart released by PSAC, the average salary will increase from $67,305 to $75,777 in 2024.

PSAC says for the Union of Taxation Employee members, a 12.6 per cent salary increase would add an average of $8,559 to the base salary by 2024. The yearly salary increases, along with the $2,500 lump-sum payment, would give the average employee an additional $23,000 over the four years (based on average salary of $68,000), according to the union.

The PSAC began negotiations looking for a 13.5 per cent wage increase over three years. The government’s offer before the strike began was nine per cent over the same period.

The union says the fourth year of the deal “meets projected inflation”, adding it only “became possible in the second week of the strike” to secure that.

Remote work

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says the new contracts for Treasury Board and Canada Revenue Agency employees provide the “strongest remote work protections in the federal public service.”

The union says the two sides agreed to improvements in remote work through a “letter of agreement that sets us up to win the full victory in our next contract.”

“PSAC members will now be protected from arbitrary decisions about remote work. We have negotiated language that requires managers to assess remote work requests individually, not by group, and provide written responses that will allow members and PSAC to hold the employer accountable to equitable and fair decision-making,” the union said.

“Having all remote work requests reviewed on an individual basis will prevent future ‘one size fits all’ type mandates like the government announced in December last year.  That means employee rights around remote work arrangements will be protected through a grievance process.”

Treasury Board said the two sides reached an agreement on working from home that is outside the collective agreement.

“The Government of Canada continues to be committed to a modern, hybrid workplace that provides employees, where applicable, with the flexibility to continue to work up to 3 days from home a week. Outside of the collective agreements, we reached a tentative settlement on telework to the satisfaction of both parties. We agreed to undertake a review of the Directive on Telework, and to create departmental panels to advise deputy heads regarding employee concerns.”

Additional wage increases and benefits for specific bargaining tables

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says the tentative agreements also include additional wage increases and benefits for specific bargaining tables.

PSAC – Treasury Board members

  • Wage adjustments, along with better leave provisions and increased allowances 
  • Increase to the shift and weekend premiums from $2.00 to $2.25 per hour for PA, EB and SV group members
  • Protections against contracting out
  • Safer and more inclusive workplaces
  • Seniority protections

On the issue of contracting out, PSAC says the agreement has “language to ensure that in the event of layoffs, preference shall be given to the retention of PSAC members over outside contractors already working with the federal government.”

PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees

The union says the new tentative deal for Canada Revenue Agency employees includes “significant improvements” to vacation leave, shift premiums and other leave.

  • The threshold for accessing four weeks of vacation drops from eight to seven years of service
  • The shift premium increases to $2.50
  • An end to the CCAAT call monitoring system in call centres within 18 months.

The deal also provides flexible working hours to members, according to the union.

“Our team negotiated new language that allows workers to request the ability to start work as early as 6 a.m., and that such requests cannot be unreasonably denied,” PSAC said.

“This is a major victory to improve work-life balance, and gives our members the option to shape their workday to match their personal and family responsibilities.”

On the issue of contracting out, the union says the team “has negotiated language to ensure that in the event of layoffs, preference will be given to PSAC-UTE members over outside contractors.”

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