PSAC union leader faces criminal charges during military workers strike

Union says move meant to silence striking workers

PSAC union leader faces criminal charges during military workers strike

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has denounced the arrest of Regional Executive Vice-President for PSAC’s National Capital Region Alex Silas during a strike by Non-Public Funds (NPF) workers.

“These heavy-handed, excessive and unnecessary police tactics are an attack on workers meant to silence their voices and weaken their bargaining power,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC’s national president.

After being released last Wednesday, Silas faced five charges under the Criminal Code of Canada while civilian military workers continued to strike outside the Department of National Defence’s Joint Intelligence Operations Centre in Ottawa.

“PSAC will vehemently oppose these allegations in court and defend the rights of all workers to take lawful strike action,” said Aylward.

More than 500 workers on strike

Since January 15, more than 500 NPF workers who provided critical support services on military bases across Ontario and Quebec had been on strike to advocate for fair wages as well as better job security.

“It's also deeply concerning this government continues to bring in uniformed military personnel as scab labour to replace our members’ jobs. Trudeau’s government promises to pass anti-scab legislation, yet they continue to bring in replacement workers to do the work of some of the lowest paid workers in Canada,” said Aylward.

Unions in Canada have expressed their support of PSAC’s notion to protect the right of workers to strike. Bea Bruske, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)’s president, has discussed the matter with Seamus O’Regan, the minister of labour and seniors. Bruske stated that unionized workers had the right to strike, and the government needed to bring anti-scab legislation into force.

The striking workers are employed by Non-Public Funds, which is operated by the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS).

The PSAC represents around 230,000 workers across Canada.

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