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Strike over: IRCC employees return to work

Vimal Sivakumar - 01 May, 2023

20220630 U Sto Canada CV
20220630 U Sto Canada CV

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the union representing the public service employees who have been on strike over the last 12 days, has made it clear that its members must now return to work at 9 AM Eastern Time (ET) this morning or during their next available shift.

After beginning a strike on April 19, it was announced last night that PSAC has reached a tentative agreement with Canada's Federal Government that will bring over 155,000 impacted public servants back to work as early as this morning. This includes employees in Canada's immigration department at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Although IRCC has yet to issue a statement regarding the end of the strike or the agreed-upon conditions, PSAC says the tentative agreement "includes higher wages which will close the gap with inflation, [while including] new and improved language relating to working from home, [and] other favourable provisions for its members."

Why was there a strike?

After unsuccessful negotiations following a PSAC strike vote between February 22 and April 11, the union voted to begin their strike as of 12:01 am on April 19.

Prior to and during the 12-day strike, PSAC made its goals and desires abundantly clear. The union wanted to achieve the following for the employees it represents: fairer wages to combat rising inflation, better work-life balance, increased workplace inclusivity, and fewer layoffs.

Note: The key to fewer layoffs, in the eyes of PSAC, was to stop contracting jobs to private organizations

Noting that productivity was unchanged compared to work conducted in the office and that 90% of workers wanted to continue working from home, remote work was one of the key sticking points PSAC was fighting for leading up to the April 19 strike. During the strike, federal employees working remotely were required by PSAC to join the picket lines in person.

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