The federal budget included a positive statement about bargaining: “The government is committed to negotiating in good faith to reach agreements that are fair for public service employees and Canadians.”
The Liberals re-stated that they have introduced legislation to repeal the Conservative law that gave the government the power to make unilateral changes to sick leave. The budget also reiterated their decision not to book savings from the elimination of sick leave in advance of negotiations.
PSAC wants improvements not take-aways
Our negotiating teams have met twice with Treasury Board since the new government was elected and drastic changes to sick leave benefits are still on the table.
Negotiations are continuing and PSAC is open to making improvements on sick leave but we will not engage in concession bargaining. We will not agree to any proposal that forces our members to choose between losing pay and going to work sick.
PSAC has yet to see any significant movement on our proposals for better ways to address work force adjustments and for fair wages.
Sick leave law still on the books (Bill C59)
In early February, the Liberal government introduced a bill that would repeal the government’s power to make changes to sick leave unilaterally. It still must be debated in the House of Commons, reviewed by a committee, and then debated again. Once passed by the House, it goes through the same process in the Senate.
Changes needed to improve bargaining
In 2013 the Conservatives used a budget implementation bill to make a number of negative changes to labour laws that affect bargaining in the federal public service. In the 2016 budget, the government has once again indicated it will consult on these changes.
PSAC’s position is that there is no need for consultation to restore the constitutional right to free collective bargaining, including the right to strike. PSAC continues to ask for the immediate repeal of the Conservative government’s labour law changes and is continuing with a court challenge of these changes.