Phoenix damages, wage increases key to PA deal says Public Interest Commission

February 19, 2020
Bargaining

The government will need to offer PSAC members more Phoenix compensation and higher wage increases if they hope to reach a deal, recommends the Public Interest Commission (PIC) report on Treasury Board common issues and the PA group bargaining unit.

Despite this obvious conclusion, we know this government won’t budge unless we make them. That’s why we’ll need to continue ramping up our workplace action, up to and including a strike, until PSAC members get the Phoenix compensation and fair working conditions they deserve.

Strike votes are already underway for our members at CRA and in the coming weeks PSAC will announce when it intends to begin holding strike votes for the PA group and other bargaining units.

While the PIC’s recommendations aren’t binding, key findings from the report include:

Proper Phoenix compensation 

The PIC agreed with PSAC that reaching a fair Phoenix damages deal could be the “ultimate antidote” that paves the way to a deal. The PIC acknowledged that while other unions have set a pattern for compensation that includes five days of paid leave, as the largest bargaining agent, PSAC has the leverage to demand more.

Every PSAC member has suffered stress and anxiety because of Phoenix, even the small few that haven’t had pay issues. Many members have had to put their lives on hold; canceling parental leave, refusing new jobs, promotions or acting assignments and even delaying their retirement for fear of being Phoenixed.

That’s why we continue to demand equal, cash compensation for all PSAC members. When cashed-in, five days of  leave disproportionately rewards higher wage-earners at the expense of those who make less. That’s not fair, and you deserve better.

Fair wage increases  

The PIC recognizes our position that as the largest federal public sector union, PSAC has the bargaining power to negotiate a better wage settlement for our members.

The PA group alone has more members than all other federal public sector  unions combined, and the PIC noted that PSAC has historically not been tied down to the deals reached by those other unions.

Wage adjustments 

Because of the diverse membership of the PA group, the PIC recommended that Treasury Board should provide allowances for specializations within the PA bargaining unit that have been identified by PSAC.

Two sides still far apart 

The report also pointed out that the two parties are still so far apart in their positions but that some of the differences are not insurmountable. This reinforces PSAC’s position that Prime Minister Trudeau must give Treasury Board a new mandate and come back to the table ready to bargain fairly if they hope to prevent strike action.

Next steps 

Now that we’ve received the PIC report, we’ll continue to escalate our job action to pressure this government into negotiating a fair deal for PSAC members. Keep in touch with your regional office and sign up for PSAC’s newsletter to get the latest bargaining updates.

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


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