Agriculture Union members were front-and-centre at cross-country rallies organized June 8 by our bargaining agent, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, to demand free and fair negotiations for new collective agreements.
The photos accompanying this article show just some of the locales where we added our voices to those of other PSAC members calling on the Liberals to reverse radical changes to the negotiations regime enacted by the former Conservative government. Bill C-4, as it was known, dramatically weakened both our bargaining strength and the right to strike.
While the newly-elected Liberal government promised public service employees a new era of respect, including a new approach to collective bargaining, it has refused to move away from the previous government’s proposal to replace the current negotiated sick leave with a short-term disability plan. As well, the employer wage offer fails to keep up with rise in the cost of living.
As a result, negotiations to date for new collective agreements for our members employed by Treasury Board and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have been largely unproductive. With face-to-face contract talks set to resume later this month, the June 8 rallies were designed to send a clear and united message that the current situation is unacceptable.
Indeed, there were signs that the Liberals were getting that message even as the protests got underway. Treasury Board President Scott Brison extended something of an olive branch by agreeing to a series of measures designed to change the climate at the negotiations table.
However, the Trudeau government has yet to introduce legislation to meet its election promise to reverse the Conservatives’ draconian measures. So, federal public service bargaining will continue under the rules brought down by the Harper government.
It is clear that continued pressure and support for our negotiations teams will be key to securing the collective agreements that Agriculture Union members want and deserve.
Local 90076 Western Newfoundland:
Local 00014 Toronto:
Local 00015 Hamilton: