Canada's bureaucrats reach tentative pay deal

Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:32pm EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's largest public sector union, citing the worsening financial crisis, said on Monday it had accepted in principle a pay offer from the federal government rather than pushing for more money.

The Conservative government had offered the Public Service Alliance of Canada a 6.8 percent wage increase over the next four years. Last week it threatened to legislate a deal unless an agreement was reached quickly with PSAC, which represents more than 100,000 government workers.

"While these increases are less than what our members expected when bargaining began, circumstances have changed and many Canadians are now facing the prospect of layoffs and the loss of pension benefits," PSAC National President John Gordon said in a statement.

Union members must still vote on whether to accept the tentative offer from the Treasury Board. No date for that vote has been set.

"Canadians understand that we are in some very difficult economic times and I think the union has recognized that," Treasury Board President Vic Toews told reporters.

"Would I have liked to have got a better deal for the taxpayer? Perhaps. But I think in the final analysis this was a fair agreement for both employees and the taxpayer," Toews said.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)