Canada calls public worker strike demands 'unaffordable'; union urges Trudeau intervention
OTTAWA, April 26 (Reuters) - The union representing some 155,000 striking Canadian public workers is making "unaffordable" demands, the Treasury Board of Canada said on Wednesday, while the union head accused the government of stalling.
"We will not sign agreements that the country cannot afford, nor ones that severely impact our ability to deliver services to Canadians," the Treasury Board, which oversees public administration, said in statement.
The strike by federal government workers, represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, entered its eighth day on Wednesday, affecting services ranging from tax returns to passport renewals.
Union President Chris Aylward called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to get involved in negotiations and give the Treasury Board a new mandate.
"He can either get involved personally and help settle this dispute or he can turn his back on the workers who are striking," Aylward told reporters on Parliament Hill.
"We'll be out here for as long as it takes," he added, as workers around him cheered.
Aylward accused the government of stalling negotiations. Earlier Wednesday the union said it was escalating strike action, blocking ports in Vancouver, Montreal and Saint John’s.
Port authorities in Vancouver and Montreal said they were operating normally.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa Wednesday, Trudeau urged everyone at the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith.
"Understanding the importance of defending the rights to collective bargaining, the rights people have to a job action - this is something that's really important for our government," he said.
"So, yes, it's frustrating to know that Canadians may, as the days come, have more difficulty accessing services, but that's a motivator for everyone to try and resolve this.”
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