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Taxpayers Federation calls PSAC's wage demands lunacy

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is taking issue with federal employee union negotiators asking for compensation increases they say will cost taxpayers more than $9 billion over the next three years.
2019-02-28 PSAC protest
PSAC demonstration downtown demanding the federal government to fix the Phoenix pay system (Photo: PSAC twitter)

"It's one thing to reach for the moon, but they're pushing for Pluto here," said Franco Terrazzano, federal director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, on The Sam Laprade Show.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a non-profit group advocating for lower taxes, is taking issue with recent revelations that federal employee union negotiators are asking for compensation increases they say will cost taxpayers more than $9 billion over the next three years.

For one category of worker known as the Operational Services Group, PSAC, the federal employee union, asked for 14 per cent increases annually for three years compounded, coming to a total increase of 47 per cent.

"I think any normal person walked to their boss and said, 'hey, look, I want up to a 47 per cent compensation increase over the next three years for doing the same job,' most bosses would laugh them out of the office," said Terrazanno.

Other groups represented by PSAC have asked for 29 per cent and 28 per cent over three years.

Non-compensation demands also include increasing overtime rates from 1.5 to double a worker's hourly wage, doubling paid time off from one to two weeks as well as meal allowances.

"I think it's unreasonable to ask taxpayers to pick up a meal allowance iff federal bureaucrats are working from home and walking to the fridge to get a sandwich," said Terrazanno.

Details of how or when a meal allowance would be issued isn't clear. 

Terrazanno is particularly frustrated over the fact they aren't hearing anything from elected officials.

"The silence coming from the members of parliament is deafening," said Terrazanno. "Union negotiators are going to make crazy demands, but where are the members of parliament speaking out for their constituents?"

Negotiations between PSAC and the Treasury Board of Canada, representing the government, have been stalled since they began in 2021. According to a report from a public interest commission published in late January, there have not been "any true negotiations" between the parties.

On Jan. 23, PSAC announced it would be launching nation-wide strike votes for more than 120,000 federal employees because of the stalled negotiations. Voting is expected to take place between Feb. 22 and April 19.

In a statement published to their website, PSAC said the federal governments offer of an annual wage increase of 2.06 per cent was "completely out of touch," and the government "refused to compromise during mediation."

Listen to the full interview with Franco Terrazanno on The Sam Laprade Show below.

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