Our Treasury Board bargaining teams decided to postpone negotiations with the employer this week to discuss the implications of the Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-59, which attacks the collective bargaining rights of federal public service workers. Our employer, the federal government, chose to table this legislation on the eve of this week’s scheduled negotiations session.
Although the SV bargaining team did not meet with the employer, we started the process of analyzing the long-awaited SV pay study. This week, our team received the final report of the pay study prepared by the Hay Group and have begun analyzing 146 pages of data to assist in the preparation of the SV monetary proposal to present to the employer later in this round of bargaining.
Bill C-59: an attack on our charter rights
The bill authorizes Treasury Board to modify collective agreements to remove sick leave and impose a short and long term disability plan outside of collective agreements. The bill will circumvent the Public Service Labour Relations Act as well as ongoing negotiations.
The Supreme Court established the right to collective bargaining as a Charter right and we will defend that right using all means at our disposal.
In light of this recent attack, our bargaining teams have decided not to engage in the round of negotiations scheduled for May 12-14. We remain committed to negotiating our next collective agreement and have not walked away from the bargaining table. However, all members must understand the severity of the current situation, as presented by Bill C-59. The Charter of Rights provides protections to all Canadians. The Budget Implementation Act denies Charter rights to a specific group of Canadians. This bill is another example of this government’s disregard for human rights, unions and democracy. In this instance, they are going after our bargaining rights and sick leave – but what’s next? Who will be the next target of this government? These attacks must end and it’s up to all union members, our allies, family and friends to stand up and take action – now, and in the weeks and months ahead.
The bargaining teams came together instead to engage in strategic discussions and participate in political action to demonstrate our opposition to Bill C-59. Actions included picketing Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre’s office and attending the session in the House of Commons when the NDP raised a question about the Conservative’s disrespect for collective bargaining and our Charter rights. As well, PSAC’s recent National Triennial Convention voted to use up to $5 million to protect members’ rights and promote public services.
We need to join together, stand up and get the message out that our Charter rights cannot be legislated away. Actions are being planned across the country, and we are calling on all members to get involved. We urge you to spread the word and stand up to defend our rights!