The tentative collective agreement settlements reached by the federal Treasury Board with some federal unions this week will not stand in the way of proper compensation for PSAC members who work for the federal government and its agencies, said PSAC National President Chris Aylward.
“Negotiations with Treasury Board for our PA, EB, TC and SV bargaining units are still at impasse, as are our negotiations with the Canada Revenue Agency,” Aylward explained. “We have just had confirmation that the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board is establishing Public Interest Commissions in each case to review the positions of the parties and make recommendations clearing the way for strike votes.”
“We are prepared to go back to the bargaining table at any time, but Treasury Board must show it is prepared to address the important concerns of our members including fair compensation for the Phoenix-related pay problems we have endured for almost four years now,” said Aylward.
The government’s last proposal to increase wages by only 1.5% each year over four years represents a pay cut in real terms. Further, the government’s negotiators continue to pursue contract concessions including the removal of the previously negotiated agreement on mental health.
“PSAC members have given our union bargaining teams a clear mandate to negotiate collective agreement improvements not rollbacks,” said Aylward.
“Our members want the federal government to live up to its promise to treat public service employees and the PSAC, the largest federal union, with respect and address long-standing problems including pay inequities, issues related to work-life balance, and the rise of precarious employment which is putting at risk reliable service to the public,” Aylward said.
PSAC President Chris Aylward issued the following statement:
After two years of negotiations, the Liberal government has offered only 1.25 days of leave per year, for 4 years, as general compensation to every member who has fallen under the disastrous Phoenix system. PSAC could not agree to this meagre proposal.
The 1.25 days per year is far too little to compensate or even recognize the massive impact that Phoenix has had on peoples’ lives. Over 270,000 workers have been directly impacted and suffered financial losses. Many were also forced to delay career advancement, cancel parental leave, experience high levels of anxiety, reduce their support of family members, and delay retirement – to name a few of the serious adverse effects. There remains a backlog of 240,000 cases to be resolved. More than 100,000 workers are still waiting to have their last collective agreements implemented.
This offer, also contains other elements that we cannot accept, such as imposing a $1500 threshold before some claims for compensation can be filed. In addition, many members would be unfairly prevented from cashing out the leave offered due to restrictive provisions in their collective agreements.
Our members make up the bulk of the federal public service and have suffered enormous damage because of the Phoenix pay system. Yet they have kept showing up to work every day, delivering the critical services Canadians depend on. Our union will not trade in four years of our members’ pain and suffering for a settlement that does not adequately compensate for the terrible toll Phoenix has had on their lives and that of their families.
In the days and weeks ahead, PSAC will continue to negotiate with the government to secure fair compensation for our hard-working members – they deserve nothing less.
As the tax filing deadline quickly approaches, we know that Phoenix has made tax season extra stressful for many public service workers. PSAC has long-secured measures to help alleviate some of the tax-related financial losses caused by Phoenix pay problems.
Public service workers impacted by Phoenix can reach out to tax experts to help determine if there are errors on their T4s and determine whether there are tax implications for those errors. Members can be reimbursed for this tax advice up to $200 per year (taxes included).
Anyone who has been financially impacted by Phoenix, tax-related or not, may also be eligible to claim out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses include things like penalty fees, interest charges, or NSF (non-sufficient funds) charges.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is launching a national television ad campaign to highlight the dedication of public service workers throughout the Phoenix pay system disaster, which has now been going on for two and a half years. Despite missed paycheques, fending off debt collectors, and managing endless uncertainty, PSAC members have continued to be here for Canada.
“Most people would quit their job if their employer stopped paying them properly, but federal public service workers keep showing up to work day after day,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President.
“They continue to protect our borders, ensure our food is safe, and provide other vital functions like getting out pension cheques, child benefits, and EI. We want to make sure Canadians understand their unwavering commitment to keep providing the services they depend on,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President.
PSAC is also launching a second video online as part of the Here for Canadacampaign. It features testimonials of the damage caused by Phoenix.
“So many families have suffered major hardships because of Phoenix. It’s important to share their stories and ensure that everyone knows about the toll it has taken on people’s lives,” said Magali Picard, PSAC National Executive Vice-President. “Phoenix is still causing problems for thousands of our members and the government needs to do more to end this nightmare.”
Now that tax filing season is in full swing, PSAC wants to remind its members in the federal public service about some important information regarding Phoenix-related tax implications. Please see the following page.