PRINCE ALBERT, SK, Oct. 25, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - More than a hundred members of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) are demonstrating today in front of MP Randy Hoback's office in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. They are calling on the government to once and for all resolve problems that began after payroll services were centralized in 2014 and have exploded in recent months following implementation of the Phoenix pay system. They also want to point out MP Hoback's responsibility, as a member of the previous Conservative government who spearheaded this initiative.
"We work with the most dangerous criminals in the country. We work every day to ensure the safety of Canadians. We give our job 100%, so pay us 100% of what we are owed. This is what we are here to tell the government," stated James Bloomfield, UCCO-SACC-CSN Prairies Regional President.
Along with tens of thousands of other Canadian public sector employees, many UCCO-SACC-CSN members have fallen victim to the new Phoenix system. There is a myriad of problems: employees deprived of their pay, reports of employment records not being issued that prevent various benefits from being dispensed, non-payment of bonuses or allowances, pay grade errors, wrong tax rate, etc. "In the Prairies region alone, more than 120 correctional officers are affected. Some have been experiencing problems for more than six months, which has not only resulted in financial difficulties, but also in an incredible amount of stress. They are frustrated and fed up," added Mr. Bloomfield.
Pressure exerted by UCCO-SACC-CSN and other public sector unions in recent months forced the government to open a satellite office in Gatineau and hire 100 additional staff to work there. Results are not yet forthcoming and problems still persist. The minister in charge of the payroll service centre committed to resolving all problems by October 31, but had to go back on her promise a few days ago. For the Prairies Regional President of UCCO-SACC-CSN, this about-face is not surprising, "The October 31 date is more like a Halloween trick than a treat… Currently, for every case that is resolved, another problem springs up. More members come forward every week with incomplete pay. We have heard enough excuses! This is the government's mess, now fix it!"
The first demonstration by correctional officers denouncing problems with the Phoenix pay system took place in New Brunswick on August 18. Besides the gathering in Prince Albert today, UCCO-SACC-CSN members are also demonstrating in Montreal, Quebec. "We are united in this struggle to receive what we are owed. We will not give up until all these pay issues are resolved," concluded Mr. Bloomfield.
About the union
The Union of Canadian correctional officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) represents more than 7400 members, spread over the five major regions of Canada: British Colombia, the Prairies, Ontario, Québec and Atlantic. UCCO-SACC-CSN represents the CX1 and CX2 job titles in 49 federal institutions.
For further information: Ryan DeBack, Prairies Regional Vice-President (UCCO-SACC-CSN), 306-230-2744