FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY
DATE: November 1st, 2023 TIME: 1pm-4pm
BRANCH: ABSB and CVB UNION: UTE
LOCATION/FORMAT: Hybrid – Montréal TSO – 305 René-Lévesque, Montréal, Qc, (Sunshine Room 607-5, 6th floor) and Microsoft Teams
SUMMARY OF DISCUSSIONS:
1. Opening Remarks
The Management Committee Co-chair, Kira Sherry opened the meeting by welcoming all attendees and thanking the Montreal office assistant directors for allowing members of the committee to meet at the Montreal Contact Centre.
The Union Committee Co-chair, Brian Oldford, shared his appreciation for being able to meet in person as it allows for more honest discussions. He also took the opportunity to present the Union’s new Contact Centre Committee members. He further indicated that the Union had observed many different issues since the last committee meeting and reiterated their concern about Contact Centre agents being treated as second class employees by CRA. The Union co-chair then mentioned the possibility of cancelling the discussion about the Sunset clause, announced by management last month, as this matter was currently being discussed with UTE president, Marc Briere.
The management team proceeded with a round table to present new members of the Contact Centre Committee as well as additional participants attending this particular meeting.
2. Update on Article 60.01 of the Collective Agreement
Kira Sherry shared a presentation on article 60.01. She also indicated that management have reviewed the usage of the 5 minutes break and shared data covering the period of August 2022 to July 2023. This data indicated an 8% increase overall within ABSB. As employees’ usage of the allocated 5 minutes break has increased since the last committee meeting, management proposed to discontinue the tracking of this, but committed to continue sending annual reminders before every tax seasons.
The Union shared concerns about the risks of an inconsistent approach and its impact on employees adherence statistics across the country.
Management agreed and stated that the goal is to have a nation wide consistent approach.
The union agreed to management’s proposal to stop sharing usage numbers at every Contact Centre Committee meetings. They instead proposed a yearly update.
ABSB and CVB management agreed to continue sending an annual reminder email as well as to now provide a yearly update on usage.
3. Ratio of permanent vs. contract employees by contact centre
Management opened the topic by stating that the ratios have increased due to term contracts coming to an end. Management then shared a presentation which includes the most recent statistics. The global ratio of permanent versus term employees is approximately 41%, and 34% for SP-04 and SP-05 specifically. The union and management shared a common desire to have more stability in the Contact Centres.
The Union shared their deception as they were hoping to observe a greater increase of the permanent percentage.
Management mentioned they are dealing with temporary funding but the main goal is to look at the situation differently in the future by seeking ways to increase permanent ratio and reduce fluctuation of term employees during peak seasons.
4. Contact Centre Agent Assessment Tool - CCAAT replacement
Kira Sherry shared a presentation on CCAAT replacement with the Committee. Management’s general vision is to replace the system, as a result of the feedback received from Unions, employees and other users. The idea is to replace CCAAT with new business processes, including a national quality program that would review more calls per agent, a new coaching regime that would better support agents in their learning, and a set of performance metrics would be clear for agents so they know how they are doing and how to improve.
Question from Union: If we are taking some coaching aspects away from the MG-03 position, is there a possibility for teams to be bigger?
Response from Management: Potentially yes. The ratio of agents per team leader will need to be considered. Team leaders might still be listening to some calls therefore it would not be completely removed from their responsibility.
Question from Union: Will the process be completely independent, review team would not see name of the agents being reviewed, in order to protect their privacy?
Management: This aspect will be evaluated through the process.
Question from Union: Will management involve SP-05s in the process, using their feedback to design the new system?
Response from Management: Currently, only MG-05 and above have been engaged in the procedure. We will engage more levels as we progress as more feedback will be required.
Commitment: Management committed to have an Ad hoc meeting around December/January about CCAAT replacement. The Union would then be consulted through the Contact Centre Committee.
5. Contact Centre Services Directorate - CCSD general update
Kira Sherry shared a presentation on CCSD with the committee. She confirmed that the WFM (Workforce Management) pilot in Hamilton is still on hold. She then shared that management have been working with the Human Resources Branch, regional managers and union to revaluate the majority of work descriptions, classifications, and organizational charts. Shalene Losier has been put in charge of the project, engaging other people in the regions.
Comment from Union: Work descriptions have to be reviewed by our committee members. Looking at current job descriptions earlier might be a good idea. Creating an SP-06 position might be a good option to keep experienced employees and retain experienced technical experts.
Comment from Management: Complexity of the job is increasing and it is a good time to evaluate some options. We will ask Shalene Losier to request feedback from the union before June.
Commitment: CCSD to provide feedback early June 2024.
6. Debt Management Call Centre - DMCC Brief update
Jennifer Cave from the Collection and Verification Branch (CVB) provided an update on DMCC. She mentioned that last time the committee met CVB was opening a new office in the Atlantic region. Since its opening, feedback has been positive and management has not heard any negative comments. She then asked the Union if they have heard of any concerns from the Atlantic office.
The Union Committee Co-chair, Brian Oldford, shared that he has received negative feedback from the New Brunswick office in regards to agents finding it difficult having to deal with a mix of inbound and outbound calls on the same day. He then asked if there is a possibility to review the workload in order to allow full days.
Management confirmed they have not heard about this particular issue and they will evaluate options for implementing a better balance.
Question from the Union: Is this DMCC update related to the Western Client Contact Centre (WCCC)?
Response from Management: No, DMCC is a separate call centre handling incoming and outgoing calls related to collections.
7. AHOD – All hands-on deck
The Union opened the subject by sharing their concerns in regards to AHOD (removing all off phone activities) being used more frequently in the last few months. Management indicated the increase has been caused by various elements such as vacation peak in July, recent staffing decisions, and unexpectedly high call volumes. The use of AHOD has been used to respond to high call volumes and it does not usually run for weeks at a time, normally just peak days.
Comment from Union: We are concerned with employees being refused vacation time and the impact on mental health. Individuals in Contact Centres should not be directly impacted by the lack of funding. Work balance and well being is not always being considered. If employees feel as their vacation requests keep being denied, the work culture will be negatively impacted. The Collective Agreement is clear, employees are entitled to take vacation, the public cannot always come first, employees well being must be considered.
Comment from Management: We know our peaks and we are developing a process in to ensure better advance planning. The goal is to use the national network in order to allow for more flexibility. Management’s objective is to reduce vacation denials, but we cannot afford to let 80% of our agents take vacation at the same time, it is about finding the right balance.
Question from Union: Holiday vacation is coming up. How are operational requirements determined in order to refuse vacation?
Response from Management: Regions have already received operational requirements numbers for the upcoming holiday season. Vacation allowance has been released to regional directors.
Additional Comment from Union: The message is not clear and it is hurting our members. The current vacation request process and members being denied vacation because it is outside of the forecasted period will result in the filing of grievances.
Response from Management: We would like to forecast for longer periods allowing employees to book vacation plans. We agree there are some problems and we will start fixing this in January to allow for longer forecasting periods.
Question from Union: For the January forecast, will the committee get a copy of it? Can the document be shared with our members?
Response from Management: No, it is a complex document and it requires specific knowledge to be able to read it. In a Call Centre environment, booking vacation is complex. The objective for 2024 is to have a better forecasting system to reduce vacation booking complications.
8. The use of 34.05 Scheduling of vacation leave with pay
Topic has been removed from the agenda as it was covered under the prior topic.
9. Remote Quality Listening (RQL)
The Union asked management if the Amazon platform is being used across the country. Management confirmed that it is not being used at the moment and that it had a different usage across the regions. Management also mentioned that RQL is another listening tool that is available to team leaders.
Question from Union: If an agent provides an incorrect response or acts in a wrongly manner during RQL, should they be disciplined for it as this is not the intended purpose of the RQL tool?
Response from Management: The RQL tool is not specifically used for disciplinary actions. It is not the intended use of it. If it is identified, during RQL, that an employee is struggling, a Team Leader could use to identify required improvement.
10. Confined topic
11. Hours of work (6am start)
The Union mentioned that Tax Centers (TC) and Tax Services Offices (TSO) have been offering their employees the option to start at 6am while Contact Centre employees have been denied the opportunity. Management stated that although there is no demand for 6am start, with a more national approach, there might be ways to expand on this idea. There are limitations to this possibility as management needs to evaluate regional requirements as well as time zone issues. For example, Newfoundland agents could not start at 6am as there is no national phone coverage during this specific time.
12. Closing Remarks
The Union Committee Co-chair shared his appreciation for the opportunity to meet in-person to better understand some of the Union’s concerns. He also mentioned that further discussions are needed with regards to the Sunset clause announced last month as the definition is not clear and it negatively impacts term employees.
The Management Committee Co-chair stated that, as per her conversation with the UTE president, the Sunset clause will not be discussed at this meeting. She then added that management understands the Union’s concerns and will take them into consideration.
The Union asked if the Contact Centres Matrix will be provided to them before the upcoming holidays as yearly renewal is required. Management agreed to provide the requested document.
Commitment: Management is to provide the Contact Centre Matrix to the Union.
SUMMARY OF COMMITMENTS:
TO BE ACTIONED BY