As the second anniversary of the launch of the Phoenix pay system approaches, 17 unions representing over 225,000 federal public service workers have sent a joint letter of demands to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The unions are asking the Prime Minister to deliver a plan to work with federal government employees to rebuild a payroll system that will pay them accurately and on time – every time.
In the shorter term, the unions are calling for urgent action to mitigate the adverse consequences of Phoenix, such as granting an exemption for employees in receipt of overpayments from repaying the gross amount, which is more than what they have received. They also call on the federal government to provide damages to make workers whole for the many hardships Phoenix has caused them, including untold stress, and the time spent dealing with their pay problems.
"In the lead up to and launch of Phoenix, the government ignored its employees and the unions that represent them," said Public Service Alliance of Canada National President Robyn Benson. "The Prime Minister must learn from this mistake and act urgently on our requests to ease the hardship of our members caught in this nightmare."
"Our members deserve a federal payroll system that works," said Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada President Debi Daviau. "That will only happen when the government acknowledges it needs to nix Phoenix and begins working with our members on a system that isn't programmed to fail."
"Throughout this saga, public servants have been steadfast; they keep showing up to work despite not getting paid correctly and continue to deliver world class services to Canadians," said Canadian Association of Professional Employees President Greg Phillips. "Likewise, they expect their leaders to show up with the same level of determination and commitment – to treat this issue with the urgency and seriousness it deserves."
On February 14, Benson and Daviau met with the Ministerial working group on Phoenix to reiterate the concerns raised in this letter. A copy of the letter to the Prime Minister is attached.