Our TC bargaining team resumed negotiations with Treasury Board from November 18-20. The remainder of the week was spent working in committees and sharing strategies. Although we only spent three days with the employer, we put them to good use, advancing a number of important issues.
Occupational group structure review
On Tuesday, the employer provided our team with a presentation on the work done to date on the occupational group structure review for the TC group. Work had originally began with the PA group, but the employer has also fast-tracked some of the jobs within the TC group for review.
So far, their attention has focused on technical inspection work at Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board, but they will be looking at other occupational groups in the future.
While the employer’s presentation was fairly short, our team grilled the employer for over an hour with questions, as well as raising the many challenges of retention and recruitment faced by the TC group. We pressed the employer for details as to their plans for the remainder of the TC group. We also requested timelines for completion of this project and wanted to know what their methodology was for comparing and classifying many of the unique jobs found within the TC universe.
The employer wants OGS to be a “cost neutral” exercise. But given the salary inequities between our jobs and those found in the private and provincial sectors, how is the employer planning to retain and recruit TC workers without discussing salaries? The completion of the OGS remains many years in the future, and we will continue to make the case for why TC members deserve a modern classification system that provides competitive wages.
PSAC is seeking significant changes to the Workforce Adjustment Appendix, the rules that govern how staff reductions are achieved in the federal public service. All of our union’s bargaining teams made demands seeking to make the rules more transparent and reduce the anxiety that the process causes for workers.
We are seeking to preserve and improve public services and ensure that seniority be recognized when layoffs happen.
Our goals with these demands is to enhance the WFA protections for members and make the WFA appendix easier to understand. We also want to expand the voluntary departure programs.
As we learned with the recent government downsizing, the majority of the cuts made could have been done through attrition and voluntary programs. Why should thousands of members be placed in crisis and stress, when there are smarter and healthier ways for members to self-identify for departure?
Government “go-to-work-sick” proposal
The government presented a second sick leave proposal that would still force workers to work while sick. It merely tweaks the proposal that Treasury Board tabled in September, which was soundly rejected by all PSAC teams. We will stand firm in our defense of sick leave and will not take concessions on this important issue.
Our union recently put forward a package of proposals aimed at making workplaces healthier for all federal employees.
We welcomed Sheri Parent to the bargaining team this month. Sheri is a Labour Affairs Officer in Winnipeg, Manitoba with the Union of National Employees – welcome Sheri!
The work of the TC bargaining team is being complimented by three subcommittees, in order to enhance our collective knowledge in three specific areas: Dockyards Trades, the TC Enforcement Community and TIs in all modes of transport. These subcommittees are composed of members from across the country, selected by their components to represent the TC members. Each subcommittee will meet with our team in the coming months, to help us better understand the issues affecting members in these communities.
Our team remains committed to representing all members of the TC group. These subcommittees will help us in defending your demands at the bargaining table and will strengthen our collective power. We look forward to meeting you at upcoming membership events and to sharing information and strategies. All of this will make us stronger and more united.
We are meeting again in January 2015.
For more information, and to see our proposals and those of the employer, visit psacunion.ca/tc