It was a busy and challenging session at the PA bargaining table last week. Our bargaining team tabled new language on issues that are very important to many of our members: workload at Service Canada like the backlogs in employment insurance and income security processing; working conditions in federal call centres and client service centres; term employment; and a new Public Safety Allowance.
- For Service Canada, we proposed an MOU to stop further cuts and to establish a joint committee to review appropriate service levels at payment and processing centres.
- We proposed a new article on term employment to provide our members who are on term contracts with additional rights and to also provide for a rollover into full-time indeterminate status after two years of service in the same department.
- We tabled a demand to eliminate the current Penological Factor Allowance and Offender Supervisor Allowance in favour of a new Public Safety Allowance of $4,000 per year that would apply to all PA members at Correctional Service of Canada as well as at the National Parole Board and at the RCMP.
- We proposed a new article to provide more rights for our members working in call centres and client service centres, as well as an MOU seeking a joint committee to review, recommend and implement minimum standards in these centres on issues such as performance standards and call monitoring, workplace design and environment, stress, morale, work-life balance, health and safety, shift work and client dissatisfaction.
- We signed off on a PSAC proposal to add gender identity and expression to the prohibited grounds of discrimination under Article 19.
- We also provided the rationale for our proposal on Designated Paid Holidays, which seeks to include three additional days observed in many provinces; and for our demand on Religious Observance, which seeks to ensure our members have a private place in which to observe a spiritual or religious practice.
This was our first meeting since the federal government tabled Bill C-59, the Budget Implementation Act that violates the collective bargaining rights guaranteed in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Our team made it clear at the bargaining table that we do not plan to back down on sick leave, despite the government’s threat to circumvent negotiations using provisions in Bill C-59. The Bill authorizes Treasury Board to unilaterally modify collective agreements to remove sick leave and impose a short and long term disability plan.
The Supreme Court established the right to collective bargaining as a Charter right – and we will continue to defend that right.
This bargaining session coincided with National Public Service Week. Unfortunately, at the bargaining table the Employer did not show us its appreciation for our hard work.
Our bargaining team gave a very clear message to Treasury Board that we are raising issues at the bargaining table that are important to our members. We told Treasury Board’s bargaining team in no uncertain terms that it is time for them to get themselves a mandate to address our proposals.
This session of bargaining was particularly challenging. Thank you for supporting your Bargaining Team!