Desperate public servants have been going public and sharing their personal horror stories of having to survive months without pay due to the problems the public service has been experiencing with its new pay system, Phoenix:
In one emotional interview, another public servant broke down on air saying pay centre employees terminated her file instead of transferring it when she changed departments and since then, her file has just been sitting on a supervisor’s desk with no activity.
“We try to survive. That’s the most we can do,” she said, crying.
Public Works has taken action by setting up a temporary satellite pay centre in the National Capital Region.
However, unions have said enough.
Thirteen public sector unions filed a Notice of Application with the Federal Court yesterday, seeking a court order directing the government to implement a pay administration system that meets its obligations under the Federal Administration Act and the Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment.
Those thirteen unions are:
- Association of Justice Counsel;
- Canadian Association of Professional Employees;
- Canadian Federal Pilots Association;
- Canadian Merchant Service Guild;
- Canadian Military Colleges Faculty Association;
- Federal Government Dockyard Chargehands Association;
- Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (West);
- Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (East);
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers;
- Profession Association of Foreign Service Officers;
- Public Service Alliance of Canada;
- Research Council Employees’ Association; and
In its statement, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) said:
The federal government is responsible for paying public service workers on time for the work they do. The unions are demanding that the federal government meet its legal duty to provide timely and accurate pay for public service employees.
The new Phoenix pay system is not working and hurting many public service workers. It is also putting excessive stress on the employees who process pay under the new system. Since its implementation, Phoenix has exhibited ongoing and significant systemic problems in the administration of pay for public service employees.
The application states Phoenix has resulted in the following pay system problems:
- Outright failure to pay employees;
- Delayed and inaccurate payments;
- Failure to pay overtime and extra duty pay; and
- Failure to process information necessary for disability insurance, employment insurance and pension payments.
The unions argue that these ongoing circumstances raise concerns that affect all public service employees, constitute a breach of the employer’s duty to provide timely and accurate pay for public service employees.
PSAC is calling on public servants to send letters to the Minister of Public Works to send a message that Phoenix needs to be fixed immediately.
According to PSAC, more than 2000 letters have been sent documenting serious issues so far.