The PA bargaining team came back to Ottawa with high hopes for a more productive bargaining relationship with the new Liberal government. Sadly, the Liberals’ new mandate for negotiations does not seem to be fully developed.
In three days of bargaining with the employer, our bargaining team discussed the definition of contact centres with the employer, as well as PSAC’s proposals for better working conditions in these centres.
We also stressed the importance of creating a joint union-management committee to review, recommend and implement minimum standards for working conditions in these contact centres.
Our union’s proposals for Article 25 – hours of work, and particularly the demand for shift scheduling by seniority, was another focus of discussion.
We will not trade away sick leave
Treasury Board negotiators tabled a proposal similar to that of the previous Conservative government, that would replace our existing sick leave plan. It takes away existing rights and leaves members worse off. The proposed short term disability plan would fall outside of the collective agreement and allow the government to make unilateral changes any time.
We remain open to improvements on sick leave but we will not negotiate concessions or agree to any proposal that forces members to choose between losing pay or going to work sick.
Fair bargaining and Bill C4
We are pleased to see the government move to repeal Bill C-59 (division 20), but there is still another unfair labour law on the books. The unconstitutional changes to labour laws governing the collective bargaining process under C-4 remain a key issue.
It is a mystery why the government is not repealing this legislation in light of the clear pronouncements made by the Supreme Court in the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour case. We will continue to move forward with our litigation and take all necessary steps to ensure that there is free and fair collective bargaining for the federal public service.
At the bargaining table, PSAC will continue to focus on measures to improve the delivery and quality of public services and make the federal public service an efficient and healthy place to work. This benefits all Canadians.
The bargaining schedule has increased in frequency from every two months to approximately every five weeks. We will be back at the table the week of March 7 and again the week of April 11.
Visit psacunion.ca/pa for updates.