Phoenix failure prompts pay centre protest by correctional officers
Members of the Union of Canadian Correction Officers in New Brunswick fed up with Phoenix pay system
Federal correctional officers working in New Brunswick showed their frustration with the federal government's Phoenix pay system by staging a demonstration outside the Miramichi Pay Centre.
"We're here to send a message to the minister regarding the pay of our federal public service employees, and correctional officers are obviously affected by that.," said Jason Godin, national president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers.
Correction officers from federal prisons in Dorchester and Renous were bused to Miramichi. They held handmade signs stating "Help them help us," "Fix Phoenix," "More staff =Problem solved," and "Pay me now."
While correction officers and their union are desperate to be paid and to have the Phoenix system permanently fixed, they don't blame the workers at the Miramichi Pay Centre.
Miramichi workers not blamed
Some estimates put the number of employees on long-term, stress-related leave in the centre at 50 of 590 workers.
"I think these workers are doing everything they can with limited resources," said Godin
You need to add more workers to make sure federal public service employees get paid.- Jason Godin, UCCO national president
Many correctional officers returning from sick leave, or parental leave have been forced to draw on emergency payment because of issues with the Phoenix pay system.
"Regularly you're scheduled to be paid on a specific payday and sometimes payments are missed. Sometimes interest is accrued through their banks, and sometimes they're missing payments," said Jeff Wilkins, Atlantic regional president of the union.
Fix promised by Oct. 31
Though the federal government has promised to fix issues with the pay system by Oct. 31, the pledge has drawn criticism from the Government Services Union. and the correctional officers' union agrees.
"I am absolutely not confident that it's going to work," said Wilkins.
For the union, the message is simple.
"Pay us. Work performed means we get paid. Simple as that," said Godin. "We told them this was coming, we warned them."