On the heels of the government announcing their intentions to inject over $400 million more into Phoenix while they seek alternatives for another pay system, the Union met with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) Minister Qualtrough to ensure our issues are being heard and addressed.
We started off by pointing out to the Minister our unique pay issues as well as the fact that pay issues just add to an already stressful work environment for our members. The Minister agreed that we are indeed different and responded by stating that this is why CSC has been given their own pay service unit to deal exclusively with pay issues faced by CSC employees. We also pointed out that Quebec had the highest number of correctional officers with pay issues across Canada.
We raised some of our exclusive issues & received the following responses;
• We reasserted, as we did before Phoenix and the old pay system, that before moving towards a new pay system the government needs to run both systems parallel to ensure the new system is operating correctly before abandoning the old system. The Minister assured us that would be indeed the government’s approach next time, vowing to not make the same mistake twice.
• We asked that our CSC employees working on pay files have full access to Phoenix to resolve all pay issues and make our members “whole” for all pay issues. They agreed to broaden access and were not aware that there was still limited access.
• We asked that when our members call to have a pay issue dealt with, that they can talk with someone directly who is able to make changes to fix the pay issue(s). The associate deputy Minister informed us that we could do this now, citing they were up to 75% capacity in their ability to answer calls and would be up to 100% capacity to answer calls & resolve pay issues by the end of April. They encouraged us to test the phone lines.
• We asked for a contact for the most severe urgent cases to be addressed. They will provide us a contact for this and responded to us on two severe cases we presented from the Quebec region.
• We also asked about how the retroactivity of our recently ratified agreement will be paid out. They will come back on the issues we raised. In addition to this, we requested they move on the backlog of union dues and provide us with their figures on the remittance shortage. They agreed to provide us some figures.
We felt the tone of the meeting was positive but nonetheless we remain cautiously optimistic given the fiasco of the Phoenix system which has caused tremendous grief and stress for many of our members.
Following the meeting the Union held a press conference in Parliament on the issues we raised.