Union of Taxation Employees and Canada Revenue Agency agree to mediation sessions in mid-April

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The Canada Revenue Agency and the union representing more than 35,000 of its employees have agreed to resume negotiations with assistance from a third-party mediator, the two sides announced Friday afternoon.

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Talks are scheduled for April 17-20.

“The clock is ticking on a potential strike,” Union of Taxation Employees national president Marc Brière said in a release on the union website. “Workers are telling the government loud and clear during strike votes they’re willing to fight for a fair contract that keeps up with rising costs and improves our workplaces.”

The release said the union’s bargaining team had proposed resuming negotiations as early as April 11, but CRA wanted to meet with the assistance of a mediator, who was unavailable until April 17.

Key issues for the union include wages, telework and remote work, job security and work-life balance.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada-Union of Taxation Employees started strike votes in January. That process is to continue until April 6.

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“There’s no doubt our goal is to reach a fair contract at the bargaining table, but CRA needs to come to the bargaining table ready to negotiate in a meaningful way, with a mandate that makes sure workers don’t continue to fall behind,” Brière’s statement added.

An announcement on the CRA website said it was “pleased” to announce a return to negotiations and “eager” to resume.

“The CRA is committed to ongoing and constructive negotiations. However, we recognize and respect that if an agreement is not reached, employees have the right to strike,” the agency’s online statement said. “In the event of a labour disruption, certain CRA services may be delayed or unavailable.”

A Public Interest Commission report issued non-binding recommendations on Feb. 14, but the union bargaining team said it failed to address key issues.

The collective agreement between PSAC-UTE and CRA expired on Oct. 31, 2021.

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