Approximately 100 members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC-Quebec) blocked the entrance at 1550 Avenue D’Estimauville in Québec City where more than 700 public service employees work.
Members are protesting against the Phoenix pay system and the federal government’s latest offers in negotiations for the renewal of collective agreements.
Along with dozens of members of Fédération des travailleuses et des travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) affiliates who have come to show their support, PSAC members are speaking out against the nightmarish Phoenix pay system.
“How is it possible that three years later, the Pay Centre is still facing a backlog of 280,000 pay transactions?” asked Yvon Barrière, Regional Executive Vice-President of PSAC-Quebec. “The Conservatives who introduced this pay system and the Liberals who went on to implement it always get paid for their work. Why aren’t our members on the job being paid properly?”
According to a survey of 160,000 federal public sector employees, 65% of them are still struggling with pay issues, 79% are under stress caused by the Phoenix fiasco and 22% opted not to apply for a new position, or turned one down, because of the pay issues that might result.
“I’ve even heard of one case where a public service worker received her own death benefits!” continued Barrière. “This system is kind of like The Place That Sends You Mad in The Twelve Tasks of Asterix: fixing one problem just seems to create another one.”
PSAC is demanding compensation for all public service workers struggling with Phoenix-related issues, more staff assigned to resolve immediate issues, the striking of a public commission of inquiry and a firm and binding timetable for setting up a new pay system.
“And to add insult to injury, the government’s offering us a wage increase of 1% in our negotiations, when the inflation rate tops 2%. Even though they’re not being paid as they should be, our members are still reporting to work. But our patience could soon reach its limit,” said Barrière. “Other actions are in the works for the days and weeks to come.”