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Hundreds of federal workers hit the picket lines in Base Borden calling for better wages

Canada's largest federal public-service union has walked away from the bargaining table and headed to the picket lines across Ontario, including outside the gates of Base Borden.

Roughly 800 federal workers from Newmarket to Gravenhurst marched in solidarity from multiple federal departments at pickets set up at the base entrances Wednesday.

Members of The Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) and other public service alliance members demanded increased wages, echoing the calls for better compensation heard throughout the country.

"We are not going to be taken advantage of, and all we want is a fair deal," said Local UNDE 621 President Jayne Pollock.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) said it would return to negotiations with the federal government when a new offer is on the table.

By Tuesday night's deadline, the two sides were unable to come to an agreement, prompting the walkout.

"We have people here from CRA, from Service Canada, from border people, natural resources. We have a lot of different components and members of PSAC today," Pollock said.

With wages remaining stagnant, Colin Lloyd, a veteran employee of the federal government's natural resources department for 30 years, says times are tough.

"Grocery prices have gone through the roof, and rent prices are rising, and if you don't have a fixed mortgage, your mortgage rate has gone through the roof. So our wages have not changed since our last contract, and we need to keep up with the times," the father of three said.

The union is pushing for just over a 13 per cent raise over the next three years, along with flexible work-from-home options and better representation in the workplace.

"We've been trying to bargain with the treasury board for two years, and we haven't been able to have them come forward with a reasonable bargain for us, and we are here to set the standard for all employees in Canada," Pollock stated.

"We can't let this keep going the way it's going. We need to fight for our rights, and we need to fight for our wages," Lloyd said from the picket line.

Local public service alliance members have vowed to continue the strike as long as necessary at Base Borden until a resolution is reached.

The bargaining groups represent roughly 155,000 federal public servants, including 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers.

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories


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