TC bargaining: Government unwilling to budge on 10-year-old wages and 40-year-old job standards

January 6, 2020
Bargaining

The TC (Technical Services) bargaining team was in two days of hearings at the Public Interest Commission (PIC) followed by two days of mediation from December 17 to 19. Unfortunately, there has been no progress in negotiations, as the employer is deeply entrenched in its own positions. An overview of regressive proposals affecting all core public service bargaining units is available here, while TC-specific proposals are highlighted below.

PSAC is committed to continue pushing for improvements and resisting concessions in the TC collective agreement.

The union is also disappointed that the government, with all the resources at its disposal, refused to provide a PIC submission in both official languages. You can download PSAC’s TC PIC submission in English and French and access the government’s English only submission here.

Wage parity with comparable jobs

PSAC has proposed wage adjustments that keep up with the wages of other employees in comparable jobs both outside and inside the federal public service. In many cases, the wages of PSAC members in the TC group are lagging far behind those of other employees in similar positions. We have a pay study showing large wage gaps.

After more than a decade of frozen wages and rising inflation, the employer made an insulting counter-offer of wage adjustments totaling up to just 1% for these TC positions.

CFIA Comparability

We have an agreement with the employer that all EGs are equivalent to EGs who work at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). However, EGs at CFIA are paid 3.3% more than EGs in the TC group.  We argued that all EG members should be paid that higher rate.

The employer has agreed that there is a gap, although they have stated the only movement they would make will come out of the 1%. That is to say that they won’t make up the entire gap, and that this amount will come out of the pockets of non-EG members.

Group Specific Allowances

Many smaller groups have huge wage gaps compared to their internal or their external comparators. PSAC is pushing to make up these gaps. This means we will push to:

  • expand some of the allowances to include more members
  • increase some allowances
  • introduce a number of new allowances for members

Again, the employer has agreed that there are a number of problems, although they reiterated the only movement they would make will come out of the 1%.

Fair Classification and the Occupational Group Structure

The classification system is broken and we are pushing for a commitment from the employer to get through the process of providing a new occupational group structure for the TC group, which is the first step in providing an updated and fair classification system so that members are all properly classified and paid fairly. For some of our members, their job standards are approaching 40 years old. We have waited long enough for this system to be implemented and are looking to negotiate a clear clause that would result in a concrete penalty for the employer if they miss any future deadlines.

The employer is trying to push off the date that they must complete this process.  They have repeatedly been unable to meet any deadlines that have been set to fix the broken classification system. The employer has not been willing to make any commitments that will hold them accountable for completing this process.

Leaves and Other Common Issues

There is a large number of issues which are common to all of PSAC’s members in the federal government which are at the common-issues table. This list of issues includes improvements to vacation leave and other leaves, better protections for members in the event of layoffs, protections from discrimination and harassment, and new language on domestic violence leave.

These are not negotiated at our table, but there is still a long way to push the employer to respond to our issues.

PSAC will continue to mobilize its membership through increased workplace action, up to and including a strike, until a fair settlement is reached. Stay up to date with the latest on bargaining by signing up for PSAC email updates.

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.


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Bargaining: TC group PIC report identifies wage gaps, allowances and occupational group structure as places for movement at the table

Bargaining

March 19, 2020

A positive Public Interest Commission (PIC) report has been issued for the TC group recommending the employer move on several important issues raised by your bargaining team. The report names a number of TC’s priorities such as closing wage gaps, parity with CFIA for EGs, increased allowances, and movement on the archaic classification system as […]