PSAC to fight budget bill
Union will challenge wage roll backs and the destruction of pay equity
On Friday, February 7, the Conservative government introduced an omnibus bill to implement the provisions of the federal budget that contains two “poison pills”: legislated wage rates for federal public sector workers and a problematic overhaul of federal pay equity legislation.
PSAC is committed to fighting wage legislation that would affect any of our members – especially if it threatens free collective bargaining. We also oppose changes to legislation that would undermine pay equity as a human right and make it much harder for women to demand equal pay for work of equal value.
Bill C-10, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures, legislates national rates of pay of 2.3%, 1.5%, 1.5% and 1.5% from 2006-2011, for employees of Treasury Board and all other government-affiliated agencies.
The bill explicitly states that it will roll back any wage increases that differ from this formula, stating that they “are of no effect and are deemed never to have had effect.” (19 b)
This would directly affect PSAC's members at the Canada Revenue Agency, who negotiated wage increases of 2.5% for 2007, 2008 and 2009. Bill C-10 would effectively break their collective agreement and override the 2009 wage increases that they freely and fairly negotiated with the federal government.
PSAC is convinced that Bill C-10 violates a 2007 Supreme Court of Canada decision that found free collective bargaining to be encompassed and protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The union will challenge Bill C-10 and its impact on workers at the CRA and elsewhere.
Destruction of pay equity
In addition to legislated wage rates, Bill C-10 also spells out a new federal pay equity regime that ignores the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force and would do more harm than good.
Bill C-10 would make it more difficult to claim pay equity, by changing the definition of a “female predominant” job group to require that women make up 70 per cent of workers in the position. It also redefines the criteria used to evaluate whether jobs are of “equal” value, leaving pay equity – a human right – open to market forces.
To add insult to injury, the bill transforms pay equity in an “equitable compensation issue” that must be discussed at the bargaining table. If pay equity is not achieved through the bargaining process, individual workers will be allowed to file a complaint with the Public Service Labour Relations Board, but without their union's support. In fact, this bill would impose a $50,000 fine on any union for encouraging or assisting their own members in filing a pay equity complaint.
Human rights are non-negotiable
Pay equity is a fundamental human right that should not be traded away at a bargaining table. Bill C-10 is one more example of the Harper government's attack on women's rights. We urge the opposition parties to unite to defeat Bill C-10, which is harmful to all women and workers in Canada.
Get ready to unite and to fight these regressive actions against PSAC members and human rights!