Sisters and Brothers,
You may have received by now or been made aware of a message that was sent by the employer to its Call Centre managers concerning the implementation of the newly negotiated clause 60.01 of the collective agreement that reads as follows:
60.01 Employees working in call centres shall be provided five (5) consecutive minutes not on a call for each hour not interrupted by a regular break or meal period.
Our Senior Labour Relations Officer, Shane O’Brien, and I have had ongoing discussions with the designated employer representatives at CRA Headquarters over the past two weeks regarding this topic. As this clause was supposed to be implemented upon signing of the collective agreement and had not been implemented by the employer, we had insisted that a clear message be sent as soon as possible to Call Centre managers and Human Resources representatives to implement the new clause 60.01 without delay for the benefit of our members working in Call Centres (including Debt Management Call Centres).
During these discussions, we raised a number of issues with which we had strong disagreement with the employer and made it clear that we would not hesitate to recommend that our members file grievances and that the UTE National Office would also file a Policy Grievance if our concerns were not satisfactorily addressed. Throughout the consultation process, we provided our input into the employer's proposed message and submitted our comments in an attempt to obtain the desired changes.
Unfortunately, before the parties concluded their discussions, a message was issued by the employer. Upon learning that the message had been released, we again contacted the employer to reiterate our position. Although the employer's message did address some of the issues we had raised (including that the clause was to be implemented immediately and that the off-phone time would be managed by the Agents themselves), it did not address all of our concerns.
A meeting of Call Centre managers was held on Tuesday, December 1st, during which UTE’s outstanding concerns were discussed. Subsequent to that meeting, a further discussion was held yesterday with the designated Headquarters representative of the employer and in addition to the information contained in the employer’s message, the parties also agreed on the following:
- Professional Development Learning Time (reading time) will remain status quo and will not be limited or decreased due to the implementation of clause 60.01;
- The off-phone time contemplated in clause 60.01 will not be adversely affected by reasonable washroom breaks;
- Should an Agent be unable to avail of the off-phone time at the prescribed time contemplated in clause 60.01 due to being on the phone with a taxpayer to complete a call, the Agent should take the prescribed off-phone time as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter.
With these agreed changes, UTE is satisfied that the matter is now resolved, but we have agreed to further meet with the employer at a later date to attempt to develop more encompassing guidelines to assist in the interpretation and application of this new clause.
Should those members in Call Centres experience problems with the employer’s interpretation or application of clause 60.01 or with the employer’s adherence to the agreements outlined in the employer’s message or this communication, we ask that they discuss the matter with a local Union representative.
We thank you for your patience during this long, arduous consultation process in resolving the matter.