Ottawa

No deal after week of bargaining between federal government, largest public sector union

A week of negotiations between the largest public sector union and the federal government has failed to produce a labour deal before this fall's federal election.

Union says further negotiations unlikely before upcoming election

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says the government's wage offer fell short of what was negotiated with other federal unions. (Radio-Canada)

A week of negotiations between the country's largest public sector union and the federal government has failed to produce a labour deal before this fall's federal election.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) had resumed bargaining on Sept. 1 on behalf of 71,000 workers in its program and administrative services unit. The union represents 140,000 federal workers overall.

But in a news release issued Saturday, the union said the government's wage offer fell short of what was negotiated with other federal unions.

The union was also looking to negotiate compensation to employees for the stress and financial hardship caused by problems associated with the failed implementation of the Phoenix payroll system.

PSAC is alone among public-sector unions in rejecting the federal government's compensation offer earlier this year, which included a one-time provision of a week's paid time off, with the possibility of additional compensation awarded on a case-by-case-basis, and a cash pay-out equivalent for former employees or the estates of deceased employees.

The union said the federal government agreed to cash compensation instead of time off at the bargaining table, but that the offer "remained meagre and insufficient to recognize the damages inflicted on public service workers over the last four years."

"PSAC came to the table in good faith, but instead of using this opportunity to deliver a fair deal for our members, the government walked away," said National President Chris Aylward in the news release.

In an email to CBC News, a Treasury Board spokesperson said the government put a fair offer on the table and was disappointed the union didn't accept their last offer.

"It is not an accurate characterization to say the government's offer fell short of the wage increases agreed to with other bargaining agents. We put a fair offer on the table that was in keeping with recent agreements with other bargaining agents and gave due consideration to PSAC's request  to resume negotiations. PSAC has chosen to decline this offer," the spokesperson said in a written statement.

With a federal election expected to be called soon, the union says there won't be another chance to continue bargaining until after the election.