(OTTAWA) The Federal Public Sector Labor Relations and Employment Board is concerned about low turnout in the strike vote that led more than 100,000 public servants to walk off the job this week.

But the Commission believes that even without any irregularities, it is very likely that the result would have been in favor of the strike, since support was very high among those who voted.

In a decision released Thursday, the Labor Relations Board finds that the Public Service Alliance of Canada failed to properly inform its members that it had shortened the voting period by eight days, moving it from April 19 to April 11. the end of the strike vote.

About 35% of the members of the bargaining unit voted, or 38,207 people, but 80% of them were in favor of giving a strike mandate to their union executive.

The Commission’s decision, however, reveals that the union did not have the correct email addresses of 15,000 members. Instead, these union members received a letter in the mail, which was sent before the union moved up the deadline for the strike vote by eight days.

Union president Chris Aylward had not previously disclosed how many members had voted to give a strike mandate, except to say it was an “overwhelming majority”.

The decision of the Labor Relations Board stems from a complaint made by a public servant, who asked that the result of the strike vote be annulled, since he had not been able to vote.

The Commission decided not to grant this request, as it found that the support for the strike was “sufficiently high to ensure that, even if no irregularity had occurred, it is very likely that the result would have been in favor of the strike”.

“Voting irregularities do not fully explain the low turnout,” the decision reads. The Commission must consider on the one hand a low rate of participation, but on the other hand a very strong support for the strike among those who voted.

In particular, she finds that the eight-day reduction in the voting period, without adequately informing the members, is a “significant” problem and that the union has failed in its responsibility under the Labor Relations Act. work in the federal public sector.

The Commission accepts that the union was authorized to change the voting period. However, she says she is “very concerned” that the union “has made no visible effort to communicate” this change to its members.

The Public Service Alliance announced the change on social media and in electronic news updates, but the Commission found that these notices did not draw enough readers’ attention to the new deadline. voting period.

“Officials in the bargaining unit may have wanted to wait until the end of the voting period to vote, so that they had the most up-to-date information to make their decision. »