Despite tough economic times and a less-than-labour friendly government, this is turning out to be a very exciting time for USGE-PSAC members in the federal public service.
The promise of renewal that is implicit in the occupational group structure/classification reform process means that the opportunity for some real change exists.
As a Union, we are getting the chance to build on the gains we made during the last round of bargaining and finally fix longstanding pay inequities and modernize antiquated classification standards. We aim to ensure that the true value of the work done by our members is recognized and properly compensated.
Nowhere is this more true than for the WP group. Many WPs have long called for their own bargaining unit for the promise it holds of tighter bargaining focus on WP operational and pay issues.
Now that the process of reform of the occupational group structure for the PA table is crystallizing, the hope of a separate bargaining unit for WPs is close to being realized.
The draft plan for the three new occupational groups to replace the PA bargaining unit provides for the WPs to be a separate occupational group, with the work being loosely categorized as that of ‘rehabilitation’ and ‘reintegration’. Other public service employees whose work fits into that definition could be added to this occupational group, but WPs will be the overwhelming majority in this new bargaining unit.
Since WPs are PSAC members, they will, as a group, be among the first to have their classification standards reviewed. The MOU to the PA collective agreement that started this process provided for review of the occupational group structure, followed by classification reform, starting with the PA Table.
The review of the occupational groups and the classification standards will not affect the settlements reached in the last round of negotiations. The new increment negotiated for the WP-04 level will still come into effect on April 1, 2013.