Over the last year and a half, your National Executive has continued to meet the employer in our regular National Labour Management Committee (NLMC) meetings. Obviously, given public health orders, adaptations were required to continue these vital meetings in a virtual environment. Though the virtual meetings are necessary, they have proven to be very challenging.
Over the last few months, restrictions have been loosened across the country, allowing for concerts/sporting events, group gatherings, interprovincial travel, etc. We even see candidates for the upcoming election travel their constituencies holding rallies and other events. Our institutions have also begun to loosen restrictions as we see visits resume, the elimination of cohorting, and the resumption of regular routines. Currently, in the capital region, there are no restrictions for meeting size and yet the Commissioner has determined that it is too dangerous for us to meet face to face.
Labour management meetings at all levels are a vital part of the work of Executive committees, as these are the forums in which many issues affecting our working conditions are discussed. Last week, the Commissioner not only decided that she would not attend this meeting, but that it would have to be held virtually by the rest of her team.
UCCO-SACC-CSN will not accept holding these meetings into the future over a virtual platform as the “new normal”. This decision by the Commissioner shows disrespect for the work of your National Executive Committee and the labour relations process, as it sends a very clear message: Hearing the concerns of our members is not a priority for CSC.
Moreover, if it is too dangerous for a meeting in a controlled environment which respects social distancing and masking, why isn’t it too dangerous for the members of UCCO-SACC-CSN to go into a workplace where they are working closely with others each day?