Federal unions fight three-day term in office

The unions will hold a press conference at 11:30am this morning to “announce further action to oppose the government’s misguided three-day mandate”.

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Multiple unions have come together to express their “vehement opposition” to the federal government’s decision to require its employees to work in the office three days a week, sending open letters to federal officials and planning a joint press conference to take place this morning.

In a letter to Treasury Board Chair Anita Anand, obtained by this newspaper, more than 15 union leaders demanded “an immediate reversal” of the work-from-office policy change, as well as a meeting with the minister and “an unequivocal apology.”

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The federal government updated its policy on remote work last week, requiring public servants to spend three days a week in the office starting in mid-September.

The decision has been met with frustration from both employees and unions, many of whom have stated that they plan to file unfair labor practice complaints.

The unions involved include the Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CAPE), the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO), the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and the Ministry Public. Services Alliance of Canada (PSAC).

Their letter, dated May 8, said that failing to address the unions’ grievances would cause “a summer of unwavering labor discontent and unrest, as we fervently exercise our constitutional rights and freedom of association.”

PSAC, CAPE, PIPSC and ACFO plan to hold a press conference at 11:30 am this morning to “announce further actions to oppose the government’s misguided three-day mandate.”

Meanwhile, in another letter, the groups took a political stance and called on New Democratic Party of Canada leader Jagmeet Singh to withdraw his support for the Liberals.

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“What is particularly concerning is that the New Democratic Party of Canada continues to support a government that engages in such blatant disregard for the rights and well-being of workers,” the letter said, arguing that the policy change affected members and undermined the principles of fair industrial relations and democratic governance. “We urge you, Mr. Singh, to reconsider his party’s position and take decisive action using the power mechanisms of the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the Liberals and the NDP to hold them accountable.”

“The time has come to act, Mr. Singh. We implore you to join us in solidarity against these injustices.”

In their letter to Anand, the unions said the decision marked “the pinnacle of a years-long pattern of disrespect toward bargaining agents.”

“You have shattered any semblance of confidence left in this government’s ability to engage in fair and meaningful labor relations,” the letter said, noting that Anand signed letters of agreement committing to collaborate on remote work. “Without due consideration and consultation, all federal public service workers, whether directly affected by this mandate or not, will experience a loss of trust in government.”

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The letter claimed that Anand decided to “engage in secret deals with politicians, business leaders, and provincial and municipal officials,” actions that it said “reek of betrayal and contempt.”

In an email statement sent to this newspaper before the letters were published, Anand said decisions about remote work “rested with deputy directors and departments.”

“These decisions must continue to prioritize the delivery of high-quality services to Canadians and the prudent management of taxpayer dollars,” Anand said, adding that the policy change was a decision made by the Treasury Board Secretariat, in collaboration with the Privy Council and vice ministers. of the entire government “who support this change.”

More to come…

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