Striking members of Commissionaires Ottawa continued their job action this morning by holding information pickets at one of their work sites.
Workers installed barricades outside the Health Canada buildings at Tunney’s Pasture, where they provide security services, this morning and yesterday. Picketers are letting people through after informing them, said Bob Legault, president of PSAC Local 70113. The picket continues tomorrow.
After 18 months at the bargaining table, approximately 50 Commissionaires have been on strike for eight weeks, said strike co-ordinator Angele Cadieux.
“There are a few issues on the table, but the straw that broke the camel’s back is wages,” Cadieux said.
Commissionaires Ottawa has offered workers a two-tier salary package with wage protection. New commissionaires get $11 an hour for the first year, a 25-cent-per-hour increase in the second year, and another 25-cent increase in the third.
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Those already employed now get $12.25 an hour. The employer is offering a 15-cent-an-hour raise, retroactive to April in the first year and a 15-cent-an-hour increase in the third year.
“We consider it a wage rollback,” said Legault, a commissionaire for over two years.
He said workers are looking for a three-per-cent increase in the second year and a four-per-cent increase in the third year, which comes out to approximately 80 cents.
“We’re not asking for the moon here. Making $1,400 a month in Ottawa to live on is impossible.”
Donna Hansen, director of human resources at Commissionaires Ottawa, said the next step is the union’s.
“If the union wants to come back to the bargaining table and discuss an alternative, we’d certainly be prepared to do that.”