Federal government walks away from bargaining, says union, prompting strike talk

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OTTAWA — The country’s biggest public-sector union says it’s preparing for potential post-election strike action after accusing the government of walking away from contract talks affecting more than 70,000 federal employees.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada had gone back to the bargaining table on Sept. 1, and was sounding optimistic as late as yesterday that a tentative deal could be reached for administrative employees that account for roughly half of the union’s 140,000 members.

Despite six continuous days of bargaining, however, the union said Treasury Board negotiators failed to produce an adequate wage offer.

PSAC added that the proposals didn’t come close to the union’s demands of compensation for federal employees affected by the government’s failed Phoenix pay system.

And with a federal election call expected any day, PSAC said there is little chance that bargaining would resume before the Oct. 21 vote.

While negotiations could continue after that, the union said it would begin preparations for possible strike action, which would not happen before the new year.

 

Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press