Pension changes protected from grievances
P.E.I. government moves to protect itself from union action on pension reform
P.E.I.'s largest public sector union is seeking legal advice on a clause in the province's new pension legislation which blocks grievances and legal challenges.
I don't think that allows for a democratic process.- Debbie Bovyer, UPSE
UPSE president Debbie Bovyer said the union has already filed a grievance over the pension changes, because the new collective agreement just reached between civil servants and the province included a memorandum that pensions would be maintained.
Bovyer said she doesn't understand how government can legislate away people's rights.
"I think that's pretty underhanded. I don't think that allows for a democratic process to take place," she said.
"My larger concern is that the minister of finance has also put in that legislation that if anyone does try to sue them any money that they spend will come out of the pension fund. That money doesn't belong to the government, it belongs to the employees."
Bovyer says UPSE's grievance asks the province to return to the table and reach an agreement that is acceptable to both sides. She said if legal action isn't possible the union plans to run a campaign to remind employees and other voters of these developments at election time.
The government is making changes to civil service pension to deal with a $400 million unfunded liability in the pension fund.