After more than a year and a half of bargaining leading to one of the largest strikes in Canadian history, the PSAC-UTE bargaining team has reached a tentative agreement for the more than 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers who deliver critical services to Canadians.
PSAC-UTE members held the line for two weeks while the government refused to give CRA a mandate to negotiate a fair contract and treat our members with the respect they deserve.
With the strike now over, PSAC-UTE members are required to return to work on May 4 by 11:30 a.m. ET, at the latest. If your regular start time is earlier than 11:30 a.m., we would encourage you to do your best to begin your workday at that earlier time because the employer may require you to make up those hours otherwise.
In this tentative agreement, PSAC-UTE has secured a fair contract for members that exceeds the employer’s original offer before the launch of strike action, and provides wage increases above those negotiated by other federal bargaining agents. It also provides significant new protections against layoffs as well as improvements concerning hours of work, telework and seniority.
This agreement is a testament to the tenacity of PSAC-UTE members who held the line on fair wages and better working conditions.
The PSAC-UTE bargaining team unanimously recommends this agreement.
Highlights of the tentative agreement
Wages that close the gap with inflation
The PSAC-UTE bargaining team negotiated wage increases totaling 12.6% compounded over the life of the agreement from 2021–2025. PSAC-UTE secured an additional fourth year in the agreement that protects workers from inflation, as well as a pensionable $2,500 one-time lump sum payment that represents an additional 3.6% of salary for the average PSAC-UTE member.
|Year of the agreement||2021||2022||2023||2024||Total|
|Total compounded wage increase||1.5%||6.4%||10.1%||12.6%||12.6%|
One-time lump-sum payment
The pensionable one-time lump sum payment of $2,500 will be applicable to all members of the bargaining unit employed at the time of signing the agreement. For PSAC-UTE members approaching retirement, the pensionable lump sum payment will contribute to their average salary for their best five years of service and increase their overall pension payments in retirement.
|Lump sum payment $2,500 (pensionable)||Example salary||Lump sum value|
relative to salary
New and improved telework language
PSAC members will now be better protected from arbitrary decisions about remote work. We have negotiated language in a letter of agreement that requires managers to assess remote work requests individually, not by group, and provide written responses that will allow members and PSAC to hold the employer accountable to equitable and fair decision-making on remote work. Having all remote work requests reviewed on an individual basis will prevent future “one size fits all” type mandates like the government announced in December last year.
That means employee rights around remote work arrangements will be protected through a grievance process, and grievances that are not settled prior to the final step of the grievance process can be referred to a new joint union-management panel for review in each department to address issues related to the employer’s application of the remote work directive in the workplace and to make recommendations to the Assistant Commissioner of Human Resources for her consideration in responding to final level grievances.
PSAC-UTE and the CRA have also agreed to create a joint committee to review and update the telework policy for the government last updated in 2020 – before the pandemic began.
Hours of work
In an effort to improve work-life balance the PSAC-UTE bargaining team negotiated new language that allows workers to request the ability to start work as early as 6 a.m., and that such requests cannot be unreasonably denied. This gives workers the option to shape their workday to match their personal and family responsibilities.
PSAC-UTE has secured an increase in shift premium to $2.50, the highest of any PSAC collective agreement. Our team also negotiated an improvement in vacation accrual, with the threshold for accessing four weeks of vacation dropping from eight to seven years of service, representing the best accrual for PSAC members in the public service as well as improved access to family-related responsibility leave and bereavement leave.
We also reached an agreement to end the CCAAT call monitoring system in Call Centres within 18 months.
Safer and more inclusive workplaces
Everyone in the federal government can benefit from anti-racism and discrimination training. That’s why we’ve reached an agreement that CRA will review, share and encourage the integration of the recommendations emanating from the PSAC and TBS joint committee created to review the existing training courses related to employment equity, diversity, and inclusion, and to ensure employees are fully aware of training opportunities available to them during their work hours.
We also know a diverse workforce with strong Indigenous representation means a better public service for all. With the new addition of paid leave for Indigenous employees to engage in traditional Indigenous practices, including hunting, fishing and harvesting, the government will be better able to attract and retain more Indigenous workers and recognize their lived experiences.
Protections against contracting out
The PSAC-UTE bargaining team has negotiated language to ensure that in the event of layoffs, preference shall be given to PSAC-UTE members over outside contractors. This language will protect union members’ jobs and reduce contracting out in the federal public service.
Seniority under Workforce Adjustment Directive
PSAC-UTE and the employer have agreed to submit a joint proposal to the Public Service Commission of Canada to include seniority rights in the Workforce Adjustment process.
Other gains at the bargaining table
PSAC-UTE also made important improvements on a number of issues, ranging from an increase to shift premiums, leave for union business and other types of leave. A detailed summary of these improvements will follow in the coming days.
Full text and next steps
In the coming days, a full explanation of the new agreement, and a copy of the new language, will be provided once it has been fully translated. PSAC-UTE members will shortly thereafter be invited to participate in online ratification votes. Details about the votes will be shared as soon as possible.