Essential services agreements: PSAC pushes back on government demands to declare workers essential
For people working in Treasury Board's PA, FB and SV bargaining units, and for our members at Parks Canada, the Canada Food Inspection Agency and Canada Revenue Agency, where collective agreements have been signed, a strike seems very far away.
But the union still must hammer out essential service agreements with the employer in case there is a future strike.
The union wants to ensure only those in positions essential to the safety or security of the public are included in the Essential Service Agreement, while the employer wants as many people as possible declared essential.
If the union and management cannot agree on an ESA, the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB) will impose one.
Each bargaining unit has its own ESA, and agreements aren't final until all proposals are agreed to or set by the labour board.
Here are updates from the tables where PSAC is negotiating ESAs.
PA bargaining unit
The employer had proposed deeming more than 20,000 positions in 40 different departments essential.
Between informal discussions with Treasury Board and with the help of the PSLRB, the union has been able to get many proposals withdrawn and has tentatively agreed to proposals covering 75% of the departments.
- Industry Canada proposed including Assistant Bankruptcy Analysts in an ESA. The PSLRB sided with the union, ruling the employer had not provided clear evidence of how the public's safety or security would be affected if these members were on strike.
- The employer wanted all those working within the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Employment Insurance programs at Service Canada deemed essential. The PSLRB ruled that entire services or programs cannot be deemed essential, only normal duties of jobs in a service or program.
- Treasury board recently withdrew proposals to declare more than 1000 Elections Canada staff essential after a PIPSC challenge. Only a few security workers are designated essential.
SV bargaining unit
The employer had wanted about 5000 positions in 22 different departments declared essential.
The union has successfully challenged many of these proposals and has reached tentative agreements on ESAs in most departments.
FB bargaining unit
The employer has proposed designating essential 9,000 positions – the vast majority border service officers.
The employer argued all BSOs should be designated essential, but the union argued that BSO also performed non-essential duties like collection of duties, taxes, fees and fines.
The PSLRB agreed.
The employer must now assess how much time BSOs spend on non-essential duties and propose a number of positions needed to perform only essential duties.
Canada Revenue Agency
The Canada Revenue Agency's proposal for essential services includes more than 100 positions that provide general information to the public about the Goods and Service Tax refund.
The PSAC doesn't believe a lack of clarity around a tax refund constitutes a risk to the safety and security of the public.
The employer recently filed the dispute with the PSLRB and hearing dates will be scheduled as soon as possible.
Canada Food Inspection Agency
The component and the Agency have completed their negotiations. The document should be available soon.
Parks Canada Agency
A year after the PSLRB ordered Parks Canada to review its essential services requirements and negotiate with PSAC, very little progress has been made.
The union disputed all ESA proposals from the agency in April 2008. The PSLRB heard the case in August 2008 and issued an interim order in November. The PSAC is assessing its options, which may include asking the Board to write the ESA.
Date Modified : 2010/02/11