MP promises no pay problems for Portage III workers

Unions are skeptical that hundreds of federal employees will make the move from Gatineau to Ottawa without experiencing problems with their pay stubs.

Hundreds of employees moving to Ontario side of river while renovations take place

Approximately 2,500 people who work at Place du Portage III will have to move to other buildings during extensive renovations at the building, which recently had fiberglass netting installed to catch crumbling concrete. (Olivier Plante/CBC)

The parliamentary secretary for federal public services promises hundreds of employees will experience no pay problems when they are transferred from Gatineau, Que., to Ottawa so their building can be renovated. But unions representing those workers remain skeptical.

Nearly 2,500 public servants are supposed to be moved from Place du Portage III in Gatineau by next summer so work can begin.

Most of the workers will be transferred across provincial boundaries to temporary offices at l'Esplanade Laurier in downtown Ottawa, a move that will last until 2025.

That has raised concerns among public service unions that the move between provinces will lead to pay problems with the Phoenix system.

Gatineau MP Steven MacKinnon told Radio-Canada in French there wouldn't be any pay problems.

McKinnon, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, sought to assure employees that the government has tested a solution to deal with situations when employees transfer between provinces.

Federal employees at Place du Portage III should not experience any pay problems when their offices are moved to Ottawa, according to Steven MacKinnon, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility. (Radio-Canada)

Unions still anxious for employees

Changing provinces has sometimes affected employees' pay for months, said Greg McGillis, executive vice-president for the national capital region at the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the largest union representing federal employees.

He has concerns about moving 2,500 public servants all at once.

"It still creates tremendous anxiety," McGillis said.

Representatives with the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada echoed McGillis's concerns.

PIPSC is happy the government is taking special measures to help employees move offices, said vice-president Stéphane Aubry. But his labour group is still concerned that employees will face issues with their paycheques.

"Nobody has trust in the system anymore," Aubry said.

With files from Radio-Canada's Florence Ngué-No