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Civilian employees on Canadian military bases set to protest pay gap

October 31, 2019
By The Canadian Press

FREDERICTON (CP) – Civilian employees on military bases across Canada plan to stage information pickets this week to draw attention to their efforts to close a pay gap.

Cathy O’Kane, vice-president of the Union of National Defence Employees, says members will be handing out flyers in front of their workplaces Thursday morning.

She says salaries are inconsistent from one base to another, and her members are paid about 30 per cent less than the core federal public service for the same jobs.

“A bartender at one base doesn’t get paid the same as a bartender at another base,” O’Kane said Wednesday.


“We’re having a lot of issues with pay equity and we would like to have that changed.”

The union has about 700 members who work as administrative or operational support staff at 10 military bases across Canada.

Nine of those locals are currently in contract negotiations, while talks at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier have reached an impasse.

O’Kane said contracts are negotiated separately for each base and the pay gap is a key issue.

“When we go to negotiations and bring up that we’re not paid the same, even though we all have the same employer, their stand is because we are negotiating locally, there’s nothing they can do about that,” she said.

The employer – which did not immediately respond to a request for comment – is the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, and the employees are considered public servants.

O’Kane said the union wants to get the message out to both members of the military and the public.

“We want to send the message to our employer that we have been fighting for this for quite a few years and at this point we are losing faith. This is our next step,” she said.

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