It's the tenth day that Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) picketers have been demonstrating in Portage la Prairie in several affected locations, including the RCMP detachment. Portage Strike Line Picket Captain Jennifer Barron, who's also an RCMP Detachment Services Assistant, outlines various local picketing groups that are affected.
"It's a general strike, so it's going from all across Canada," says Barron. "Here, at our picket line, we have members of the USJE, which is the Union of Safety and Justice Employees. We have people who work at CRA, Service Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, Libraries, and Crop Diversification. We have many different federal agencies represented here at our picket line."
She explains they feel that the government has dragged its feet and refused to address key priorities for almost two years. As a result, PSAC members voted to give a strike mandate to the union.
"By doing that, the members are saying they won't be taken for granted, and they don't want to fall further behind," notes Barron. "We're ready to fight for better. Our members' wages have been stuck in neutral while the cost of living continues to climb. The majority of these workers are female and they make between $40,000 and $65,000 a year. Decent wages, but not the kind that can withstand being rolled back by inflation."
Barron says their bargaining team is still in negotiations with the Treasury Board.
"In negotiations, offers go back and forth," adds Barron. "So, we're going to wait until our bargaining team has accepted the offer and then, we will be going back to work when we get a good offer from the Treasury board."
She says, according to daily reports on social media, the strike is having an impact and they're hoping that the Treasury Board comes back with a fair offer soon.