The union representing federal public service employees has filed a formal complaint against Ottawa and its efforts to claw back sick leave benefits.
Prompted by the Treasury Board’s short-term disability proposal for its staffers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) filed an unfair labour practice complaint on July 7.
The plan — spearheaded by the board’s president Tony Clement, and modeled in the same vein as private sector schemes — would reduce the number of paid sick days and introduce a waiting period for benefits. Whereas the government argues the changes will improve productivity, labour groups fear workers will report for duty despite being ill.
PSAC further alleges that, by unilaterally going ahead with a short-term disability plan apart from the sick days outlined in the current collective agreement, the Treasury Board violated its duty to bargain in good faith.
“Sick leave is a part of the collective agreements, and any changes must be brought to the bargaining table,” the union said in a statement. “If the Treasury Board truly wants to engage in a discussion about improvements to the health and work life of employees, the bargaining teams are ready to talk.”
The complaint foreshadows what is expected to be a particularly rocky road towards a collective agreement. Negotiations are slated for later this year.
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