Back to the Office: Another Federal Union Files Complaint Against Government

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Back to the office: another federal union files a complaint against the government

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada announces the filing of a complaint with the Labor Relations Board regarding the federal government's telework policy. (File photo)

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) announces the filing of a complaint with the Labor Relations Board regarding the federal government telecommuting policy.

The union, which represents more than 70,000 members across Canada, and more than 14,000 members of the Audit, Finance and Science (AFS) group employed at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), accuses the CRA of bargaining in bad faith.

The complaint concerns the CRA's recent decision to force a return to the office rather than continuing to negotiate telework at the bargaining table.

PIPSC members and the CRA have been in negotiations since October 2022, when telework was established as a top priority for VFS group members, and PIPSC and the employer exchanged proposals on the question. However, during bargaining sessions that took place from January 17 to 19, 2023, the CRA declared that it no longer intended to include any telework clause in the collective agreement, denounces the union, by press release, Tuesday.

The CRA order mimics the directive the Treasury Board issued in December that calls for federal public servants to work face-to-face at least two or three days a week starting in the new year. The measure was phased in on January 16. It should be fully implemented on March 31.

Telework is the second [priority for our members] after the amount of pay. We want to have articles in our collective agreements that retain the right to telecommute. The Agency was ready to talk to us and all of a sudden, it changed its mind, deplores the president of the PIPSC, Jennifer Carr, in an interview with Radio-Canada.

Last December, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) announced that it would file a complaint for unfair practice and for breaking the freeze on working conditions under negotiation.

“You can't just take a critical issue off the table that has been established as a top priority for the membership, and not label it as bad faith. »

— Jennifer Carr, President of the PIPSC [excerpt from press release]

The federal union believes that the CRA's about-face is sabotaging what has already been accomplished at the table and delays or even prevents the conclusion of an agreement.

We have been clear from the start that bulldozing a directive like this in the middle of negotiations does not bode well for good faith negotiations, and will cause more more problems than it will solve, Judge Carr. The facts speak for themselves. We expect the government to stop engaging in unnecessary confrontation and bring this issue back on the table, as it should.

For the union, the new practices imposed by the pandemic must be integrated into employee contracts.

They protect everyone. These are simply good practices, concludes Ms. Carr.

The president assures that her union is always ready to negotiate.

We are always at the table, we want to talk with the employer, we are there with the objective of having a good collective agreement and we need a partner at the table to negotiate with.

At the time of publishing this article, the CRA had not yet responded to a request for comment.

With information from Patrick Foucault