January 20, 2012
Implementation of Compensation Advisors move to Miramichi is Approved – PSAC has grave concerns
The implementation plan for the transfer of federal pay services to Miramichi was approved by Treasury Board in December. The PSAC and Components have been notified that the following departments and agencies will have pay accounts moved to the new pay centre as part of what is being called the first “wave” of transfers:
- Immigration and Refugee Board
- Department of Public Safety
- Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP
- Office of the Correctional Investigator
- RCMP External Review Committee
- Inspector General of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service
- Natural Resources Canada
- Northern Pipeline Agency
- Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
- Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
- National Parole Board
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- For the detailed schedule, see Consolidation of Pay Services Project – Transfer Schedule
The Immigration and Refugee Board, the National Parole Board and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will not be transferring all of their accounts in Wave 1. Although we don't know the how many yet, some accounts won't be transferred until April 2015.
Since the centre was announced, the PSAC has been pushing for a comprehensive transition plan in accordance with the relevant Workforce Adjustment Appendices to our collective agreements. As a first step in this process, the 12 Departments and Agencies participating in the first wave have declared a Workforce Adjustment situation and are in the process of providing compensation advisors whose work will be transferring with letters confirming their status as “affected” employees.
“Affected” status means that indeterminate employees will be informed in writing that their services may no longer be required because of a workforce adjustment situation. “Affected” employees have the right to be represented through immediate and ongoing union consultation, the right to a guaranteed reasonable job offer where the capacity exists, re-deployment, retraining and counseling.
Public Works is currently coordinating efforts to try and maximize employment opportunites for affected employees through redeployments and placement to compensation work in other areas.
What are the implications for affected employees?
Throughout the planning process for the pay centre, the employer has said over and over again that they expect attrition to take care of the transition. In the coming months, this will be tested as departments will need to let affected employees know whether or not they will be given a guarantee of a reasonable job offer (GRJO).
Affected employees who have not yet applied for a deployment to Miramichi will also be given another chance to consider relocation, should they wish to do so.
The PSAC and its Components will be pushing for GRJOs to be given to all affected employees who do not wish to relocate or who can't be redeployed. We know that many of the departments which are not part of the first wave are searching for compensation advisors given the lack of stability in the community. We believe that there is a huge need for compensation advisors in this time of transition.
Throughout the process affected employees have extensive rights and supports under the WFA Appendix. The PSAC and its Components are calling upon departments and agencies in the 1st wave to meet immediately with their union counterparts to set up Workforce Adjustment Committees to manage all of the issues arising from the transfer and ensure employee's rights are protected.
The employer has set up an employee transition committee to facilitate transfers across departments. The PSAC has asked for direct representation in the process.
What is happening in the first wave?
The employer plan will see 146 staff being hired to work at the pay centre in Miramichi starting in March of 2012. Wave 1 accounts will begin to transfer gradually over 18 months. By the end of the first wave in September 2013, a total of 20,000 pay accounts will be administered from the Miramichi pay centre.
Existing plans call for an initial 7 week intensive training program for staff of the centre. Plans call for teams consisting of about 12 employees supported by a coach and a trainer who will continue training while working for an 18 month period.
All employees at the Pay Centre will be employed by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). The PSAC's Government Services Union (GSU) is working with the employer to create a new local at Miramichi, and will be in a position to begin representing members employed there once the centre is opened in Miramichi.
What are the implications for employees generally?
If you are employed in a department or part of a department whose pay accounts are being transferred, at some point in this first wave your compensation services will stop being handled by your departmental compensation advisors. The new pay centre is being set up to provide compensation services to employees and managers through systems, e-mail and a contact centre.
What happens in subsequent waves?
Over the following two and one half years, a further 72,000 pay accounts will transfer to the pay centre and approximately 400 more workers will be employed in Miramichi. This will take place in two more waves, one lasting18 months and the final one lasting 12 months in duration. Each wave will involve a WFA process for workers in those departments. By 2014 it is expected that approximately 550 workers will operate the pay centre, depending on the size of the federal public service at that time.
In 2015, the government plans to implement the Pay Modernization project, which will modernize the existing “people soft” compensation software. The government believes the new software platform will allow them to transfer an additional 92,000 accounts to Miramichi following 2015 without any additional staffing.
What has the PSAC been saying about the project?
Although the PSAC is not directly opposing the creation of the Centre for Pay Expertise in Miramichi, as we find out more about the project, and more about the work that compensation advisors do, our reservations about the project continue to grow.
We don't believe that the efficiencies projected from both the consolidation in Miramichi and the modernization of the existing pay and benefits technological infrastructure are realistic.
The PSAC is convinced that more workers will be required to provide accurate and timely pay services for public service employees. The government must retain more workers than what is currently planned, at least until the new technology is proven to actually work.
The PSAC understands that compensation advisors are committed to helping the public service workers who are their clients. Compensation advice and guidance about pay and benefits for surplus and laid off workers, death in service situations and other unique areas where personal compensation advice is essential must not be lost. Current plans propose that all this will be accomplished on the phone through workers employed at a contact centre. We believe that this is both unrealistic and potentially inhumane.
Departments and agencies must be funded to maintain compensation advisor capacity within the department and agency to provide the face to face services provided now by compensation advisors and which cannot be done either effectively or humanely from a contact centre.
Date Modified : 2012/01/25