After nearly two weeks of strike action, 120,000 federal civil servants are back at work with a deal reached with the federal government.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada says the deal was reached overnight, and the latest offer includes a 12.6 per cent pay raise over three years, a lump-sum payment and better contract language concerning remote work.
Strikes across the country began in mid-April. On Vancouver Island, Union of National Defence Employees Local 21007 president and strike captain Camille Soper says they are very happy to reach this outcome.
“We’re very happy our bargaining team worked so hard, tirelessly, over the last 10 days basically non-stop,” said Soper. “I’m sure they’re exhausted, as are we, but we’re very happy so far with what they’ve come up with.”
The deal is around one per cent below what unions were asking from the federal government and begins in mid-2021 and goes until part of 2024.
While Soper says the agreement helps in the meantime, more work will have to be done in the next few years.
“It will certainly help with the cost of living. I know personally here in Courtenay where I live, our taxes are going up 9.6 per cent this year so our 4.5 per cent [this year] is barely going to cover that along with everything else that has gone up,” said Soper.
“But at least it’s something and it’s better than nothing but it only takes us into 2024 and then we start over again.”
While an agreement was reached for 120,000 workers, some 35,000 employees at the Canada Revenue Agency are still off the job, as bargaining continues.
Soper explains this is because they are under a different collective agreement and are bargaining for other issues.
“We set a precedent, so they’ve got that to rely on and if they’re looking for more than that then they may have to fight a bit longer than we did,” said Soper.
Soper thanks all the UNDE members for being on the picket lines, even during difficult weather and military members on the base for their patience during delays from the picketing.
With files from Norman Jack, Vista Radio