OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 24, 2014) - The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) which represents federal government scientists, researchers, auditors, engineers, IT experts and others has wrapped up two days of meetings by agreeing to a collective bargaining strategy that deals squarely with the threats posed to its members and the public by Bill C-4 and similar anti-union legislation introduced by the Harper government.
"This is a breakthrough for our union and for the cause of collective bargaining," said recently-elected President Debi Daviau about the agreement reached among union groups. "Ironically, the heavy-handed measures adopted by the government under Bill C-4 have served more to galvanize than to discourage our members in advance of bargaining."
The agreement outlines six commitments undertaken to help coordinate the union's response to the Conservative government's assault on salaries, sick leave and employee performance as well as the union's right to seek arbitration and to strike. They include commitments to ensure broader public engagement on bargaining activities, greater collaboration with other unions to defend free collective bargaining, and more effective member mobilization through the union's new Better Together member engagement initiative.
The commitment to broader public engagement is considered particularly important. "Secrecy, misrepresentation and lack of accountability have been the hallmarks of this government's labour agenda," said Daviau. "The Parliamentary Budget Office has had to go to court to learn even the numbers of federal workers affected by the massive 2012 budget cuts."
"Polls show declining faith in this government, and our members are no exception," added Daviau. "The government now has an opportunity -I would argue an obligation - to undo the damage done to federal labour relations by its unrelenting agenda of cuts to staff, programs and services and wilful misrepresentation of public service salaries, sick leave and employee performance. In too many areas - from climate change to child poverty, the economy to labour legislation - this government is failing Canadians and public servants. The country's largest employer simply cannot continue to behave recklessly either with its employees or with the public."
Over 90% of PIPSC members' contracts are set to expire in 2014. PIPSC members ensure everything from protection of the environment to the safety of Canadian food, health and consumer products, data and IT security and the integrity of the tax system.
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 55,000 professionals and scientists across Canada's public sector.