As the Public Service Alliance and federal Treasury Board move to solidify a tentative deal with the striking Public Service Alliance of Canada, the agreement only came to fruition after a thinly veiled threat issued by the Government of Canada.
“The Government of Canada would like to clarify information regarding employees’ pay in the context of the current labour disruption by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC),” a statement issued by the Public Services and Procurement Canada stated on April 27.
It went on to say:
Employees on strike are considered to be on Leave Without Pay and will not be paid for the time they are participating in strike activity.
Since the strike began on April 19 and federal public servants are paid two weeks in arrears, employees who chose to strike will see a reduction in pay as early as their May 10th paycheque.
The Government of Canada is committed to processing all pay transactions in a timely manner.
This update came one day after an email was sent out to union members by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, on April 26.
It was titled “STRIKE DAY 6!” and read:
If you do not yet have your PSAC ID, you should call 613-505-5151.There are members on the other end of the line waiting to take your call. You may have to try several times, but this information is crucial in order for you to receive strike pay. Make this your priority, even if it ends up being the only thing you do as a strike duty for the day.
How do I log my hours? Once you are done your 4hrs of strike-related activities for the day, click the big button below. That's it! You will click the same link for each day you are participating in strike activities.
The bottom of the email included further directive including a way to “Create cool chants and songs for the picket lines and share with them with your union friends on the lines and/or in a linked, private Facebook group.
It also includes a TikTok call to action — telling members to “Make TikTok videos about the union, strikes, showing the amazing energy on the lines (get your friends to send you videos from the line) and/or demystifying some of the right wing talking points!” and then they confirm that they are “asking for 4.5% for 3 years, not 30%, The average PSAC member makes between $40,000 and $60,000 a year” and “To counter the critique that they are getting for a 35% turnout for our vote,” they urge members to research the turnout for the last municipal and provincial elections in their area! They also say that they will give an apparent bonus — maybe a star or hero cookie — for researching what percentage particular anti-union politicians were elected by!
But this $40,000–$60,000/year is not entirely true.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer in the April 4 Personnel expenditure analysis, the average cost of a full-time federal employee sat at $125,300 in 2021–2022, which was up 6.6% from the year prior. That pay increase covers the salary but also pension and overtime incurred.
Furthermore, according to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the majority of full-time employees in the PSAC union earn between $50,000–$70,000 per year and only 3% of those employees earn under $50,000.
And never mind the hypocrisy of how the Trudeau Liberals addressed these striking public sector employees versus how the same government treated everyday Canadians who wanted to make their own informed medical choices — as was the case with the Freedom Convoy that took to the nation's capital in early 2022 — which was already pointed out by my colleague Sheila Gunn Reid in a video report, this public sector union went ahead and shut down roadways, blocked bridges and caused delays all while in active negotiations with the government.
Something Trudeau refused to do with the truckers who wanted vaccine mandates revoked to continue earning an income.
All for a cause so important that they couldn’t show up on evenings or weekends to shout about it, as pointed out by Canadian Taxpayer Federation director Franco Terrazzano weeks ago.
I suppose that’s why when the feds threatened to dry up the taxpayer salary well by threatening the leave without pay, the strike pay being offered by the union was no longer sufficient and they made sure to negotiate a deal before they risked being cut off from the taxpayer funded trough on May 10.