On the heels of the Public Interest Commission (PIC) report released on April 30, PSAC-UTE (Union of Taxation Employees) National President Marc Brière has made it clear to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) leadership that bargaining talks must resume.
The PIC report sided with several union proposals, making it clear that wage discrepancies, working conditions in call centres, and questions relating to years of service recognition when assigning evening and weekend work, among others, should be addressed.
The report provides a framework for the parties to resume contract talks.
PSAC-UTE members have shown unwavering dedication and commitment to their work as they rapidly implement the government’s various financial support measures for the public during the pandemic, such as the massive Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit as well as expansions to the GST credit and the Canada Child Benefit. All this while continuing to process the benefits that are normally remitted to the public as well as the tax returns for individuals and corporations during this tax season.
“Our members are doing all this even though they haven’t had a new contract in almost four years,” said Brière. “This cannot go on, and I’ve told CRA Commissioner Bob Hamilton that management must come back to the table ready to reach a fair contract with us.”
The pandemic cannot be used as an excuse for delays in resuming bargaining. Across Canada, governments have made deals or have continued negotiating with public employees since the pandemic began—for example, teachers reached tentative agreements in British Columbia and Ontario and hundreds of thousands of provincial public employees are still actively bargaining with the government of Quebec. In April, moreover, PSAC reached a tentative agreement with Canada Post, a federal crown corporation.
“We followed the bargaining process set by the government’s own legislation and the PIC process is now done,” added Brière. “The ball is now in the Agency’s court, and we expect them to respond with dates to resume talks.”
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