We are writing to update you on the policy grievance the BCGEU filed to address your ongoing delay in retroactive pay. As you will recall we advised you of this initiative in our previous bulletin.
The grievance states that "It has now been more than three months since the 19th Main Public Service Agreement was ratified. Despite this significant passage of time, BCGEU members continue to await the retroactive pay increases under that renewed agreement. This delay is unacceptable. Public service workers have already withstood a global pandemic, labour dispute, and an ever‐increasing cost of living." Read the letter here.
Last week the employer issued an update where they acknowledged that they have yet again missed their stated targets for payment of retroactive entitlement and that there are still members waiting to be paid.
Our union is seeking immediate payment, court-ordered interest on the outstanding amounts, and any other remedy required to make our members whole. We note that our sister union in the public service, the Professional Employees Association – PEA – has also filed a similar grievance.
Following filing of this policy grievance, the employer has responded as follows: "The employer took a reasonable period of time to pay the retroactive increases given all the circumstances and no interest is appropriate. For all of the foregoing reasons, the employer denies the grievance."
Considering the employer’s refusal to grant our grievance, the BCGEU will be moving this issue forward to arbitration under Article 8.11 [a] of the Main Public Service Agreement. While we cannot guarantee an outcome, we are seeking interest-based damages given the extraordinary delay in the payment of these retroactive payments.
It also should be noted that this delay in payment is one which is unique to the public service. Other collective agreements which were ratified in a similar time – BC teachers and the Facilities Health sector have seen members paid in a timely manner – many before the end of last year. These agreements are of a similar size and complexity to the public service. In addition to collective agreement entitlements, the payments which result in the longstanding classification review in the former FLNRORD ministry have also been delayed.
It seems clear to the BCGEU that the public service payroll delays are at least in part the result of a previous B.C. Liberal government decision to contract out payroll services. The payroll contract, currently held by Telus Sourcing Solutions, is currently up for renewal.
The BCGEU believes that payroll services should not be contracted out. We believe payroll services should be brought back into the public service with an appropriate level of staffing to ensure delays like we have experienced do not happen in future. We have made this case to the government.
We will continue to update you on the progress of the grievance as events unfold.
Remember to visit the employer's BCGEU 19th Main Agreement FAQ web page for their most up-to-date information.
Your BCGEU Public Service Bargaining Committee
Stephanie Smith, President and Committee Chair
Paul Finch, Treasurer
Judy Phipps, Executive Vice President
Dean Purdy, Vice President - Component 1
Kusam Doal, Vice President - Component 5
Judy Fox-McGuire, Vice President - Component 6
Kayla Woodruff, First Vice President - Component 6
Maria Middlemiss, Vice President - Component 12
DJ Pohl, First Vice President, Component 12
Robert Davis, Vice President - Component 20
Michael Eso, Secretary and Lead Negotiator
Lisa Lane, Support Staff
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BCGEU Headquarters is on the unceded and shared traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skxwú7mesh (Squamish) & Səlí̓ lwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.