Phoenix payroll system fiasco : Correctional officers denounce inadequate measures to resolve pay problems
Ottawa, Friday, March 10, 2017 – More than a year after implementation of the Phoenix payroll system, pay problems experienced by Canadian public service employees continue to pile up unchecked. The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN), which counts several hundred of its members among those repeatedly affected by Phoenix system failures, demands immediate measures be put in place to address the needs of those who have been enduring months of extreme anxiety caused by these pay problems.
On February 13, following insistent demands by UCCO-SACC-CSN, the government launched a centre of expertise project in Kingston. Correctional officers welcomed news of the centre opening with cautious optimism. Unlike satellite offices dedicated to handling errors, this would be a place where global solutions could be advanced and where Correctional Service Canada (CSC) employees could refer when faced with a problematic situation.
However, during a meeting with the Treasury Board on March 1, UCCO-SACC-CSN learned from the assistant deputy minister that the Kingston centre would be managed the same way as other satellite payroll offices. Therefore, employees will not be able to directly interact with centre staff. “We are disappointed. We had hoped the office would not be an empty shell. We have been saying this for too long: our members need to be able to explain their problems verbally to public servants trained to resolve them,” stated Jason Godin, UCCO-SACC-CSN national president.
Long before Phoenix was launched, UCCO-SACC-CSN raised concerns about the massive rollout of this system. According to Jason Godin, the fiasco witnessed today was in the cards for a long time. “We had a lot of doubts, especially about the loss of departmental autonomy and the abolition of compensation/payroll positions at CSC. Previously, these people answered employees’ questions, corrected pay problems in real time, helped sort out complex situations, etc. The removal of these resource people set the stage for the current chaos.”
The government is now looking for a way out of this mess and UCCO-SACC-CSN, in its role as the union representing Canadian correctional officers, refuses to accept a half-baked solution to the situation. “We have been more than patient. Now, we demand that files be handled by CSC employees who are familiar with our challenges and who can quickly and efficiently resolve our payroll problems. There is no reason why those who work daily to ensure the safety of the Canadian population do not receive their full pay,” concluded Jason Godin.
About the union
The Union of Canadian correctional officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) represents more than 7400 members, spread over the five major regions of Canada: British Colombia, the Prairies, Ontario, Québec and Atlantic. UCCO-SACC-CSN represents the CX1 and CX2 job titles in 49 federal institutions.
For further information:
Communication Advisor – CSN