Government threatens collective bargaining rights in federal budget

The federal government said today it will eliminate the existing sick leave provisions for federal public service workers, whether or not an agreement is reached at the bargaining table.

“The government is putting a time limit on the collective bargaining process and trying to pre-determine the outcome of bargaining, ” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President. “That’s simply unacceptable. ”

 “We will be consulting with our members to determine what actions we will take to defend our constitutionally protected collective bargaining rights.  We will start next week at the union’s national convention where more than 700 leaders will be meeting.”

The government’s “go to work sick” plan is a step in the wrong direction. The Parliamentary Budget Officer and Statistics Canada have refuted all claims by this government that sick leave is a burden on Canadians. On the contrary – it is essential to maintain a healthy workplace and quality public services.

“Our focus is always to strengthen public services and ensure a healthy workplace,” said Benson. “The government is threatening to derail an ongoing bargaining process that was delivering positive results for the government, our members and the Canadian public.”

Public service cuts continue

The government’s operational freeze will continue for the 2015-16 fiscal year and it projects that it will lapse on billions of dollars of program expenditures. These are back-door cuts that will have a significant impact on public services.

“The government has devastated public services and they seem intent on going into an election with plans to make it worse,” said Benson.

Instead of using the EI surplus to fund greater access to job training so Canadians can get back to work, the government plans to cut EI premiums.