The union representing Yukon government workers says it's boycotting all joint committees and boards with the territorial government, in an effort to fix the territory's hiring practices.

Yukon Employees Union (YEU) president Steve Geick says there are too many "acting" managers and department officials, some of whom are not qualified.

"They're hiring people to fill jobs who aren't necessarily the person for the job, whether that be because they don't have the training to do it, [or] they don't have the experience to do it," Geick said.

Yukon government building

The Yukon government main administration building in Whitehorse. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

"It's been kind of practice that that's how people in upper management have gotten their positions. So we're not questioning the individuals, generally speaking, but the practice."

Geick says it's a problem when acting managers have not been trained in labour relations or human resources. 

To make its point, the union has withdrawn from all joint management/labour committee and policy review boards. Geick says those groups are designed to "head things off before they become an issue."

Now, he warns, "things will start to become issues."

Political pressure

Geick admits it's a political move, intended to make a point ahead of the spring sitting of the Yukon legislature, which begins Thursday.

He says the new Liberal government campaigned on promises to strengthen hiring and recruitment processes, and make them more open and transparent.

"It's been a gradual build up. I think this is just the time to… I mean, the [legislature] sits for the first time [Thursday], they have made platform promises. We're just kind of reminding them they need to follow through.

"I just need some kind of assurance from them, sit down with them and go through this."

Liz Hanson

'What the union is saying is, 'let's have a clear understanding of what the rules are and let's follow them,'' said NDP leader Liz Hanson. (CBC)

NDP leader Liz Hanson calls the YEU's gambit "a very unusual step," but she agrees that the new government has to get busy, and follow through on its promise of a more fair and transparent hiring process.

"It's not as though they [government] haven't got the resources or haven't had the time to be briefed backwards and forwards on these issues," Hanson said.

"I think they need to move beyond the words of saying that, 'we respect public servants and excellence in public service.' They hopefully will articulate in their throne speech what they're going to do about changing the perception within."

The government will deliver its throne speech in the legislature on Thursday.

With files from Cheryl Kawaja