Budget bill violates collective bargaining rights, legislates sick leave

May 8, 2015

The government tabled its Budget Implement Act (Bill C-59) today that attacks the collective bargaining rights of federal public service workers.

The Bill authorizes Treasury Board to modify collective agreements to remove sick leave and impose a short and long term disability plan outside of collective agreements. The Bill will circumvent the Public Service Labour Relations Act as well as ongoing negotiations.

“The government has decided to completely throw out any pretence that they intend to respect the collective bargaining rights of its workers,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President. “This attack on our members’ rights will seriously harm public services by forcing people to go to work sick, and cause irreparable damage to labour relations. We will take every available action in our power to challenge the legislation.”

The Supreme Court established the right to collective bargaining as a Charter right – and we will defend that right using all means at our disposal.

The government has never made the case for why eliminating the existing sick leave regime will make the public service a healthier place to work. The current proposal would force workers to choose between getting paid and going to work sick, which is unacceptable.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer and Statistics Canada have refuted all claims by this government that sick leave is abused or too costly. On the contrary – it is essential to maintain a healthy workplace and quality public services.

This would impact all members whose employer is Treasury Board, including members that fall under the PA, FB, TC, SV and EB groups.

PSAC bargaining teams are meeting on Monday to determine our union’s course of action. Our focus is always to strengthen public services and ensure a healthy workplace.