PSAC strike — solidarity for now, but how long will it last?

By Shachi Kurl, President

April 28, 2023 – As the strike by members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada strides into its second week, one reflects on the steps taken by PSAC workers on the picket line. Enough to put up some serious numbers on the old calorie-burning app, but not yet enough to walk them closer to their destination: a deal with the Trudeau government.

In terms of strategy however, the line for the striking public servants is a fairly simple one: keep the pressure up as far and as long as possible without alienating members of the public who depend on the services they provide.

So far, so good. The union has been bolstered in its first days by early support from Canadians. Public opinion data from the Angus Reid Institute found people leaning towards, not away from, some key contract demands. Just over half (55 per cent) said they supported the union seeking to enshrine their members’ rights to work from home, while one-third (36 per cent) opposed this. Just under half (48 per cent) back public servants demanding a 4.5-per-cent raise per year over the next three years. Two-in-five (40 per cent) say “no” to this pay rise.

These sentiments track, given that before the strike, more than half of working Canadians told us they themselves hadn’t had a raise in the past year, while among Canadians working from home, more than half said they would either start looking for new work or quit outright if called back to the office full-time.

The journey ahead is far trickier, tactically and politically, not only for the prime minister but for the leaders of all three major national parties.

Read more from the article in the Ottawa Citizen here.

Image – PSAC – AFPC / Facebook

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