Federal technical services workers reach tentative agreement with Treasury Board

Public service union still concerned over equal pay, retention and recruitment

More than 10,000 of Canada’s technical services workers — who have been without a contract for more than two years — have reached a tentative agreement with the Treasury Board of Canada.

On Aug. 1, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the federal government came to an agreement after an 18-hour marathon bargaining session, according to PSAC.

As part of the new deal, technical services staff will receive retroactive wage adjustments of 1.75 per cent, 1.5 per cent and 2 per cent, as well as improvements to bereavement and family-related leave. Severance pay for retirement and resignation was eliminated. Another general improvement PSAC noted was that, for the first time in a federal public service collective agreement, transgendered employees will be explicitly protected from discrimination and harassment.

According to the Treasury Board, the agreement was based on previous tentative agreements reached with federal correctional officers and aviation inspectors.

“Through fair and reasonable negotiations we have been able to reach a tentative settlement with the Technical Services group on a new collective agreement,” said Minister Tony Clement, president of the board. “This is the same balanced and consistent approach which has allowed the government to settle 24 of 27 collectively bargained agreements in the core public service.”

But the union added that they will continue to push for equal pay for work of equal value. In particular, PSAC voiced concerns over retention and recruitment issues for technical inspectors at the labour program at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and increases in pay and allowances for technical inspectors at Transport Canada.

The tentative agreement — which primarily covers workers at the defence department and ministries of transport, environment, agriculture, and fisheries — is retroactive from June 22, 2011 up until June 21, 2014.

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