The Public Interest Commission (PIC) has released a report recommending the government move on several important issues raised by PSAC’s Treasury Board Operational Services (SV) bargaining team. The report identifies several of the union’s key concerns—such as closing wage gaps and increasing allowances—as areas where the government can improve its offer.
Though the PIC does not recommend moving forward on everything in our proposals, its support of key issues demonstrates the union’s demands have been fair and reasonable. There are, however, some glaring omissions, specifically the absence of any specific recommendation in relation to the HP (Heating & Power) classification. The report also contains a recommendation of the government’s concessionary Inmate Training Differential (ITD) proposal.
Moreover, similar to the PA and TC group PIC reports, this report recognizes that a fair Phoenix deal must be part of an overall contract settlement.
The PIC panel acknowledges that the government needs to address wage rates if a settlement is to be reached. In particular, the 1% special adjustment offered by the government may need to be increased.
The PIC singles out the following specific classifications/sub-groups for favourable commentary on our proposed wage adjustments:
- Firefighter (FR)
- General Labour & Trades Group (GL)
- Machine Driving-Operating Sub-group (GL–MDO)
- Electrical Installing and Maintaining Sub-group (GL-EIM)
- Vehicle and Heavy Equipment Maintaining Sub-group (GL-VHE)
- Ships’ Crews (SC)
The PIC report also comments on our proposals to adjust and increase a number of allowances:
- Firefighter (FR): Convert Long Service Pay from a flat rate to a percentage (in line with the practice in municipal fire services)
- General Labour & Trades – Machinery Maintaining sub-group (GL-MAM): The report notes that expanding the allowance “would appear to be an area of potentially fruitful discussion.”
- Ships’ Crews (SC): Increases to the various allowances.
- Lightkeepers (LI): Despite the union advancing a suite of proposals to address both long-standing low wages and unique working conditions of the LI group, the report only mentions an increase to the Supplemental Allowance.
- Heating & Power (HP): Despite the need to address the clear wag gap and other HP group-specific proposals, the PIC report fails to include any steps to address them.
Inmate Training Differential concession
The PIC recommends that the government’s concessionary Inmate Training Differential (ITD) proposal be adopted for the GL, GS and HP groups, leading to the Commission’s union nominee to issue an addendum on the matter. Adoption of such a concession completely disregards the fact that the existing variations in rates is attributed to the number of offenders a worker is responsible for training in their trade, variation in the associated responsibilities, and the particular contribution of SV members in correctional institutions. Such an approach undervalues the teaching responsibilities that workers take on in addition to their regular duties.
Although National President Chris Aylward has authorized strike votes for the SV bargaining unit, all strike votes are currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite this, PSAC is committed to reaching new a collective agreement and calls on the government to return to the table as soon as possible to negotiate a fair deal for SV members.
We will be updating our national and regional websites, social media, as well as sending information by email as the situation develops. We encourage all our members to check these resources regularly and subscribe to our mailing list.