Federal government argues pay system steadily getting back on track

The federal government says it’s making progress in the battle to fix pay discrepancies caused by the Phoenix Pay System, but it’s also urging public service employees to be patient.

A Public Services and Procurement Canada spokesperson provided the comments following a rally by Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) union members in Prince Albert on Thursday.

Union members said they were concerned the government wasn’t taking the issue seriously. On Friday, however, a government spokesperson argued that isn’t the case.

“Although we are seeing progress, we recognize that pay issues are creating stress and hardship for employees,” the spokesperson wrote. “We are committed to making this right for public servants and their families.”

“We are seeing steady progress,” he added. “For instance, the queue of transactions has steadily declined since January 2018. As more departments (jump) on board to the pay pod model, we expect that employees will see their pay issues addressed more quickly.”

Public Service and Procurement Canada says the backlog of corrections has decreased by 31 per cent since January 2018. That’s a reduction of roughly 196,000 transactions.

Increasing that pace will depend on a number of factors, including the accuracy of new human resources data entries and the implementation of the collective agreement. Bargaining is set to begin on April 30 with the National Treasury Board.

At Thursday’s rally, union leaders said members have faithfully shown up to work despite the challenges caused by the pay system. They want the government to remember that dedication at the bargaining table.

“In light of everything that our members have been through for almost the last four years, it’s time for the treasury board and the federal government to come to the table with a wage offer that shows the fact that they go to work day after day,” PSAC prairie region executive vice-president Marianne Hladun said.