CRA workers want 30% wage increase over three years

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CRA workers want 30% wage increase over three years

According to Marc Brière, the inflationary context makes the demands of the Union of Taxation Employees realistic. (File photo)

The union that represents workers at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is proposing a series of wage increases that equate to more than 30% more than current wages. The measure, to keep up with inflation, is described by observers as both “unprecedented” and “insane”.

The Union of Employees of the ;Tax (UTE) is proposing the following salary increases, in addition to a one-time salary adjustment of 9%:

  • 4.5% effective November 1, 2021;
  • 8% as of November 1, 2022;
  • 8% as of November 1, 2023.

Combined over three years, the four requested hikes would result in a historic pay rise for the largest workforce in the federal public service. According to UTE National President, Marc Brière, this would affect nearly 35,000 employees.

A previous version of this text indicated that the salary increase requested by the Union of tax employees would affect nearly 55,000 employees. In fact, this would only concern union members (35,000) and not all CRA employees who number 56,000.

Mr. Brière clarified that this proposal aims to correct an imbalance between CRA employees and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which has approximately 14,000 employees.

The two agencies operated as one between 1999 and 2003, where employees were paid the same rate. Once they became independent of each other, there was a 9% wage gap since the CBSA uses the Excise Act.

In 2021, CRA salaries ranged between $41,658 and $121,923, compared to CBSA salaries which ranged between $64,849 and $135,509.

Comparing six similar administrative positions within the CBSA and the CRA, we see that the salary is always higher at the Canada Border Services Agency, from a few hundred dollars to more $10,000.

It also appears that salaries for CRA employees are also lower than other federal agencies that are not part of the core public administration of government.

Direct comparisons are difficult to make, however, due to differences in roles and salary designations.

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency: $79,298
  • Parks Canada: $77,608
  • National Research Council Canada: $68,771
  • Canada Revenue Agency: $66,687

According to Mr. Brière, this discrepancy does not reflect the work that has been asked of CRA employees, especially in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

We have specialized people. The Income Tax Act is complex and they do a great job. They've proven it during the pandemic, administering income tax programs [and] even emergency programs.

Nationally, approximately 165,000 federal public servants will be called upon to vote on a strike mandate. From January 31 to April 7, more than 35,000 CRA federal public servants will take part in strike votes. They have been without a contract for more than a year.

Criticized by the unions, Mona Fortier invites them to resume negotiations

The CRA filed a complaint against the Public Service Alliance of Canada on January 13, alleging that the union failed to bargain in good faith or make every reasonable effort to settle a dispute. collective agreement.

To date, the largest wage increase for CRA employees was 3.2% per year from 2000 to 2003, representing an increase of nearly 10% over three years. The lowest increase was 1% per year, in 2014 and 2015.

According to Marc Brière, the inflationary context makes the UTE's demands realistic.

People are struggling to make ends meet and that's why we're asking for a new contract with decent pay raises.

Marc Brière defends his union's demands. (File photo)

According to an Ottawa-based employment lawyer, Jock Climie, this is an unprecedented request.

I have never heard of requests close to this , commented the one who negotiated bargaining agreements for unions and federal agencies for more than 20 years.

For its part, the management of the Canada Revenue Agency responded that the wage proposal would cost taxpayers dearly and that the threat of a strike during tax season puts unfair pressure on Canadians.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation Executive Director Franco Terrazzano has sided with CRA leadership.

Everyone has it ripped off during the pandemic. These government employees have not pulled off the same way as their neighbors, who will have to pay higher taxes to finance the demands of these union negotiators, said the one whose organization is campaigning for a tax cut. /p>

He added that the union is using inflation as an excuse to rip off Canadian taxpayers who cannot afford these insane demands.

Franco Terrazzano is the Executive Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. (File photo)

The union and the CRA are scheduled to attend Public Interest Commission hearings on January 27 and February 20 with the labor relations and employment in the federal public sector.

The commission is expected to make recommendations on how the two sides can reach an agreement this spring.< /p>

With information from Nicole Williams, from CBC News

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