Policy Grievance, Complaint - ABSB Call Centre Hours of Work

May 17, 2022

Sisters, Brothers and Friends,

I wish to inform you that a Policy Grievance was filed with the employer by the PSAC, as bargaining agent, on March 7, 2022, at the request of our office, as a result of the CRA’s unilateral actions concerning extended hours, shift work and work on Saturdays without overtime compensation in its Assessment, Benefit, and Service Branch (ABSB) Call (Contact) Centres. Moreover, the employer is attempting to unilaterally convert Day Workers to Shift Workers and takes the position that they may schedule work on Saturdays without the appropriate overtime compensation.

As we have done in the past, the National Office of the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) had engaged earlier this year in a series of consultations with representatives from ABSB concerning hours of work and extended service in its Call (Contact) Centres. 

While we have consulted and for the most part, agreed in the past to extended hours of service during the tax filing season, the employer has now also announced its intention to unilaterally extend hours of service to the post-filing season as well.

UTE advised the employer that we are willing to meaningfully consult, as we have done in the past, with respect to extended hours of service for the filing season, but that we are opposed to these hours during the post-filing season. We have also been insistent that there must be compliance with the provisions of the collective agreement.

In addition to these consultations, UTE agreed last year to participate in a Joint task Force in examining the Variable Shift Schedule Arrangement (VSSA) clause of the collective agreement to assist the employer in meeting its operational needs, while at the same time, protecting the collective agreement rights of our members. Unfortunately, these discussions proved not to be fruitful, and UTE withdrew from the Task Force due to the employer’s intransigent position that it had the right to unilaterally schedule hours of work where they found it necessary.

Despite our repeated attempts to resolve the issues, the CRA has proceeded with its plans to implement extended hours, shift work and work on Saturdays without overtime compensation. In response, UTE put the employer on notice that it would be asking the PSAC, as bargaining agent, to file a Policy Grievance as a result of the employer`s actions.

At our request, the PSAC has also agreed to proceed with the filing of an Unfair Labour Practice Complaint (Statutory Freeze Complaint). The Complaint was filed with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board on Monday, March 14, 2022.

The hearing of the Policy Grievance is scheduled for later this month.

In Solidarity,

Marc Brière's signature

National President
Union of Taxation Employees