The CS Public Interest Commission (PIC) report was released on September 15, 2020. The recommendations within are non-binding, but will be referenced in the upcoming negotiations.

The CS Public Interest Commission (PIC) report was released on September 15 from the presentations to the commission on June 22, June 23 and July 31, 2020. The recommendations within are non-binding, but will be referenced in the upcoming negotiations. It is important that you read it.

The bargaining team agrees with the unanimous commission recommendation to eliminate the pay disparity between the CS members and IT workers at the Canada Revenue Agency. Unfortunately, the commission refrained from endorsing our group’s main objective of parity now because of the state of the Canadian economy resulting from the pandemic. It suggested that the wage gap be closed as soon as the economic situation allows in a future round of bargaining. In addition, the report recommends that family-related leave be increased by an additional 7.5 hours if the Employee Wellness Support Program (EWSP) is not implemented by April 2021, and union representation during members’ Action Plan meetings.

Lastly the PIC report has recommended a 3-year collective agreement similar to PSAC tentative agreements, with wage increases of 2.8%, 2.2% and 1.5%. To clarify, the employer’s monetary offer at the bargaining table and during the PIC process has always been lower than the offers made to other groups and unions.

Your bargaining team is dissatisfied that the PIC report did not recommend an increase in the market adjustment to help departments with ongoing recruitment and retention issues. The PIC recommended a superfluous pay study, an exercise already undertaken by union and management prior to the PIC. The work on the renewal of the CS collective agreement began in the spring of 2018. The goal then, as it is now, was to ensure CS members receive fair compensation, adequate training, and career development. Fair compensation, along with other benefits, would allow the employer, the Government of Canada, to continue to attract and foster the best and the brightest of the IT community.

Here are the facts – senior managers in all departments have repeatedly reported having difficulty recruiting IT workers because:

  • Canada-wide private/public sector competition for IT workers has been fierce for many months now, with an unemployment rate below 2% this year
  • CS salaries are lower than IT workers in the Canada Revenue Agency and other agencies 
  • Inter-departmental poaching of CS members is a daily occurrence
  • Training and career development of CS members is not a priority

The employer refuses to address the recruitment and retention issue because it remains easier for a hiring manager to contract out CS work to the private sector – no financial oversight, and circumvention of rules around nepotism, bilingualism requirements and merit-based hiring.

It is disappointing that the commission based its recommendations almost solely on the possibility of a prolonged downturn in the economy when the issue of fair CS salaries has been and remains a reality since 2016. CS members have been upholding the technological and information management infrastructure of the federal government for the last 50 years. The time is now to provide fair compensation.

In considering the issues, the commission must consider 5 factors under Section 175 of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act:

  1. the necessity of attracting competent persons, and retaining them
  2. the necessity of offering compensation and other terms and conditions of employment comparable to those of employees in similar occupations in the private and public sectors
  3. the need to maintain appropriate relationships with respect to compensation and other terms and conditions of employment as between different classifications
  4. the need to establish compensation and other terms and conditions of employment that are fair and reasonable
  5. the state of the Canadian economy and the Government of Canada’s fiscal circumstances

The federal government is doing all that it can to ensure that all Canadians are being supported during this unprecedented time of pandemic. Your CS leadership wonders why the government as the employer is turning its back on CS members now. This is especially puzzling when CS members continue to tirelessly work around the clock to ensure that the whole of government can continue the important work of sustaining and safeguarding Canadians. The implementation of the CERB is an example of a priority that required collaboration of our CS members and IT workers at the Canada Revenue Agency in response to an urgent request from Prime Minister Trudeau.

Next steps

Your CS bargaining team will host virtual information sessions in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for announcements and register for one of the scheduled sessions.

Within the next 6 to 8 weeks, your bargaining team will return to the bargaining table with the Treasury Board. The goal remains the same – fair compensation for CS members.

Your bargaining team would like to thank all of you who have contacted the bargaining team to lend your support in achieving a fair deal, a contract that recognizes the true worth of the work performed by CS members supporting the workings of the federal government and all Canadians.