Public Values

Federal government professionals cuts off contract talks over government move to cut severance

Selling the future is a step backwards - PIPSC.

Selling the future is a step backwards - Gary Corbett, PIPSC.OTTAWA, October 26, 2010 - The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) has walked out of early contract talks with the Treasury Board of Canada over its push to remove severance pay from new hires. PIPSC's negotiators were unanimous in their view that such a demand was not in the interest of the financial security of current or future public service professionals.

PIPSC's president Gary Corbett said, "The Professional Institute has a long history of bargaining in good faith with the government of Canada and the highly qualified professionals that we represent have always sought the most collaborative means available to resolve issues without jeopardizing their important work for the public good for Canadians.

"It is in that light that our [negotiating] groups welcomed the government's proposal to expedite bargaining. However, the Groups felt that they could not enter into discussions on the matter of severance, which would jeopardize the future of the public service. Selling the future is a step backwards."

He said it well documented that public service professionals are consistently underpaid in relation to their private sector counterparts. "Yet, the employer wants to negotiate away severance provisions that help close the compensation gap between public and private sector professionals." Dropping severance pay will mean fewer professionals seek work in the public service.

"Members of the Professional Institute stand firm in their belief that a safe, healthy and productive Canada is best served by a knowledge-based public service made up of highly skilled and highly motivated individuals dedicated to the well-being of their fellow citizens," said Corbett. "The government's proposed expedited bargaining process was not able to achieve an outcome that is in the best interest of its employees, nor Canadians."

With the termination of exploratory discussions around expedited bargaining, the normal bargaining schedule will resume for each of the Groups concerned. "While these talks may have ended, members of the Professional Institute will continue to work to find a solution with a sincere desire to quickly reach agreements that would prove acceptable to members and to the employer", concluded Corbett.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 59,000 professionals across Canada's public sector including Nurses, Doctors, Engineers, Scientists, Auditors, Computer Systems Professionals, and Commerce experts.

Posted: October 26, 2010

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