SV bargaining team reaches tentative agreement with Treasury Board

After four days of mediation, PSAC and Treasury Board have reached a tentative agreement for the Operational Services (SV) Group, which covers almost 10,000 federal public service workers. The deal includes the significant breakthroughs on “common issues,” such as sick leave and workforce adjustment, that were negotiated by the common issues committee last December.

“It is through the hard work and commitment of the members of our SV bargaining team, along with the steadfast support and solidarity from the bargaining unit members, that we were able to reach this agreement,” said PSAC National President Robyn Benson.

“Some progress was made towards achieving a key demand of equal pay with similar workers in the private sector and public sectors,” said Benson. “However, our bargaining team members remain disappointed that the government has not agreed to fully implement the results of a joint pay study commissioned in 2014.

“We are recommending acceptance of this agreement because we believe it is the best we can achieve at this time. Ultimately it will be up to the members to decide.”

Monetary gains

SV members will receive economic wage increases of 1.25 per cent per year for four years starting in 2014. The union also achieved market and wage adjustments of between 0.5 per cent and 15 per cent, as well as increases to some allowances.

Common issues need to be implemented at all tables

The issues agreed to in December between the employer and the common issues committee, composed of members from all five Treasury Board tables, need to be accepted by each specific table. The SV bargaining team has formally accepted the work of the common issues committee, which covers sick leave and the workforce adjustment appendix.

Sick leave

  • The sick leave articles of our collective agreements will remain unchanged.
  • The parties have negotiated a Memorandum of Agreement to establish a Task Force to develop recommendations on measures to improve employee wellness and reintegration of employees.
  • Any future enhancements to the regime would need to be negotiated and agreed to by both parties.
  • PSAC’s four principles are included in the MOA: sick leave provisions will be contained in the collective agreement, provide for wage replacement, protect and grandfather sick leave banks, and will not be administered by a third-party provider. Any enhanced sick leave regime shall contain, at minimum, these four principles.

Workforce adjustment appendix

  • What we achieved represents the most significant improvements in workforce adjustment since it was first signed as an appendix into PSAC collective agreements in 1998.
  • Changes will reduce involuntary layoffs by allowing volunteers to come forward to leave the public service during times of workforce adjustment.
  • Employees will now have up to fifteen months to find an alternation match.
  • More union involvement, ensuring employees have the right to union representation during the process.
  • Limits to contracting out.
  • Improvements to the monetary provisions, including the education allowance and transition support measures.

Helping workers meet family demands

A committee will be established to look at childcare needs. Better family leave, including provisions that are more respectful and inclusive of Indigenous cultures, have also been negotiated.

Other notable gains

The Memorandum of Understanding that established the Task Force on Mental Health in the Workplace is also contained in this agreement. The mandate of the task force includes identifying ways to reduce and eliminate the stigma associated with mental health issues, improving communication on mental health challenges in the workplace, and implementing the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The parties came to an agreement on the MOU earlier in the bargaining process, in 2015, and the task force has been hard at work ever since.

Further information about the settlement will be provided in the near future.