The federal government doesn’t appear to be willing to budge on RCMP wages, despite Mounties ripping the yellow stripes off their pants in increasing numbers to protest pay, staffing levels and working conditions.

The movement started late last week in North Vancouver after the federal government announced a new pay package with a 4.8 per cent increase, which fell far below expectations.

Mounties have since started removing or covering up their stripes in detachments across Canada.

Sgt. Scott Fefchak is the detachment commander in Moosomin, Sask., where Mounties are no longer sporting yellow-striped pants.

“What’s going on is absolutely unprecedented and I think for the first time in history we’re seeing members from coast to coast to coast collectively showing displeasure toward a number of issues before us,” he told CBC News.

Those issues go beyond pay, Fefchak said.

“It’s not uncommon for members to be having 300 or 400 hours a month on-call,” he said, “It’s cumulative stress that comes from always being on and not having the work-life balance that we’re being told we have to try and achieve, but under the circumstances it’s really difficult to achieve due to the lack of manpower.”

Talking to a reporter without prior approval from management is punishable under the RCMP Act, as is altering the police uniform. But Fefchak joked that the RCMP can’t afford to send anyone home because detachments are already so poorly staffed.

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