An official exchange of proposals has started the clock on a new round of contract talks for Agriculture Union members falling under Treasury Board jurisdiction.

Our bargaining agent – the Public Service Alliance of Canada – met face-to-face with employer negotiators the second week in July. Bargaining teams for all five units – PA, TC, SV, FB and EB – have been hard at work developing their packages of demands since being elected at their respective bargaining conferences earlier this year.

While the Conservative government’s determination to replace the current sick leave system with a short-term disability plan has been generating most of the pre-negotiations heat, no employer proposal was tabled. However, the government’s wage proposal of 0.5 per cent annually for four years amounts to an actual cut when inflation is taken into account.

These contract talks are likely to be as arduous as those recently concluded for our members employed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The Harper government, with an eye to a spring 2015 election, will of course be pulling all the employer’s strings in a very ‘political’ set of negotiations.

Our bargaining teams will be counting on the determination and solidarity of all our Treasury Board members. It is extremely important that everyone concerned stay informed and up-to-date.

Fortunately, the PSAC has made that task a lot easier by putting that information at your fingertips. You can follow the progress of negotiations by visiting THIS PAGE on its Web site.