About forty people rallied outside the Sheraton Hotel in St. John's Wednesday afternoon, protesting the ongoing issues with federal government's Phoenix pay system — while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet were inside.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) organized the event to "remind" the federal politicians to fix the backlog that has resulted in federal workers being underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all. At the end of August, the number of cases waiting to be resolved topped 237,000.

"This is a first-world country. We live in Canada, where we cannot pay our own government employees on time and the correct amount," said Chris Lansdell, who is part of PSAC's Atlantic Regional Council. 

PSAC rally phoenix trudeau Sheraton

Public servant Kim Radford says 'stressful isn't even the word' when it comes to the uncertainty of recouping money she is owed by the federal government. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

One of those people still owed money is Kim Radford, a processing review clerk at the Canadian Revenue Agency in St. John's. 

"I'm owed $3,000 and they can't give me a timeframe of when I am going to get it ... stressful isn't even the word," Radford said Wednesday. 

'Fresh start' with new minister?

Lansdell hopes that Carla Qualtrough, the new federal minister of public services and procurement, might help get things back on track. 

"This is a great opportunity to make a fresh start and to make the changes that we have asked for. To implement the measures that are necessary to treat us ... with the respect we deserve."

Qualtrough takes over for Judy Foote, who announced last month she was resigning from cabinet to spend more time with her family. 

Foote, who will also step down as a member of Parliament for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity when the House of Commons resumes later this month, had been the minister responsible for overseeing the government's new payroll system rollout. 

With files from Jeremy Eaton