#WorldNews: “Minister opens federal pay centre in N.B., says Phoenix pay system is enhancing ” #Toronto #Montreal #Calgary #Ottawa #Canada
The federal authorities is attempting to hit the reset button on its two-year-old bid to restore and change the problem-plagued Phoenix pay system.
Federal cupboard minister Carla Qualtrough was dispatched Friday to northeastern New Brunswick, the place she formally opened the centralized Public Service Pay Centre, which processes paycheques for 300,000 federal workers in 46 departments.
“We have reason to celebrate the hard work of the people working here in Miramichi,” the general public providers minister stated after a ribbon-cutting ceremony outdoors the brand new constructing, which really opened for enterprise in January.
READ: PSAC union members rally in Moncton over Phoenix pay system
“They work every day to resolve these problems. We have seen progress, even if it’s not as fast as we would like.”
The feel-good photo-op comes greater than two years after the federal government applied the IBM-built Phoenix system. The earlier Conservative authorities stated Phoenix would save taxpayers greater than $70 million yearly.
Instead, it has brought on so many snafus throughout the nation that the backlog of transactions stood at 625,000 as of March 21.
That quantity is anticipated to dip solely barely when the most recent figures are launched later this month, Qualtrough stated.
However, a pilot challenge developed on the Miramichi centre might be rolled out throughout the nation to make sure extra well timed funds, she added.
“This pilot that we have done has reduced the queue in the departments in the pilot project by 24 per cent,” Qualtrough stated. “That’s not a small amount.”
Debi Daviau, president of the 55,000-member Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, stated the so-called “Pay Pods” challenge is a good suggestion, nevertheless it’s solely a Band-Aid resolution for a a lot larger downside.
“No matter how many resources, and what model is being adopted, the government can never stabilize the system because the software is broken,” the union chief stated in an e mail.
“The government should be identifying replacement options immediately, as … PIPSC has been asking on many occasions since 2016.”
Under Phoenix, tens of 1000’s of civil servants have been underpaid, overpaid or not paid in any respect for lengthy durations since 2016. The ongoing mess has prompted protests throughout the nation and a class-action lawsuit.
On Thursday, about 800 members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) – the nation’s largest federal union with 180,00 members – marched to the Toronto workplace of Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the place they staged a loud rally.
In February, Qualtrough issued a public apology on behalf of the federal government.
“We recognize the burden we’ve placed on employees by not paying them timely and accurately,” she stated Friday.
More than half of all federal workers have skilled pay issues since Phoenix was introduced on-line, the federal government has confirmed.
Some federal employees have come ahead to say they proceed to stay in worry of payday, citing the stress and anguish attributable to Phoenix.
There have been tales of workers struggling to pay their payments – some misplaced vehicles and even houses earlier than the federal government and unions had been made conscious of the extent of the issue.
Earlier this yr, the Trudeau authorities dedicated $16 million over two years to discovering a alternative system. However, the federal government additionally stated it might take one other six years to make it work.
READ MORE: Federal authorities to scrap Phoenix pay system, spend money on higher customer support at CRA
Morneau has additionally earmarked greater than $400 million to take care of the backlog, bringing the overall allotted to the pay challenge thus far to almost $1 billion.
The 17 unions representing federal workers have known as on Ottawa to pay “damages” to their members, and the federal government opened the door to compensation in its February price range. Talks with the unions are ongoing.
Though the backlog of downside seems to be shrinking, a big decline isn’t anticipated till later this spring, federal officers say. The backlog peaked at 633,000 transactions awaiting processing in late January.
Chris Aylward, who was elected as PSAC’s nationwide president this week, stated Friday he hoped Public Services and Procurement Canada will reap the benefits of the brand new facility “to repair the workplace culture” for its Miramichi workers.
“Compensation advisers are overworked and underappreciated, which is seriously impacting their mental health,” he stated.
Lisa Harris, New Brunswick’s seniors minister and an area member of the legislature, described the centre because the neighborhood’s “economic lifeline.”
She stated the well-paying public service jobs have meant an amazing deal to a area that discovered itself in a financial tailspin amid a long-term downturn within the forestry trade and the closure of Canadian Forces Base Chatham in 1996.
“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the Public Service Pay Centre and the effect that it is having on the economy and social fabric of our beautiful community,” she stated.
The mayor of Miramichi, Adam Lordon, was extra blunt.
“This is the new hub of our local community,” he stated. “The jobs are being filled by people coming home to live in the Miramichi and raise their families – something that only a few years ago may have seemed improbable.”
Note: “Previously Published on: 2018-05-04 11:15:01, as ‘Minister opens federal pay centre in N.B., says Phoenix pay system is enhancing