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OPINION: A paycheque boondoogle

Federal workers who have dealt with the flawed Phoenix system say the constant uncertainty over pay is causing them a great deal of stress. 
(PSAC File Photo)
Federal workers who have dealt with the flawed Phoenix system say the constant uncertainty over pay is causing them a great deal of stress. (PSAC File Photo) - The Guardian

Phoenix Pay System unacceptable to government employees; disgrace to the nation



I am writing concerning the Government of Canada’s complete inability to pay its own employees as unacceptable and disgraceful. If we are fortunate this inability will not carry over to the paycheques of the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Pension.

One of the oldest laws since the beginning of time is you do not cheat on the employees’ paycheque. The work is done and the wage is then paid – it’s absolute.

Commonly known as the Phoenix Pay System, this program does not work, does not pay employees at all, pays employees somewhat, overpays employees or takes back what was paid to employees.

Tens of millions of taxpayers dollars have been squandered on this program, hundreds of new employees hired in an attempt to fix the program and tens of millions of tax payers dollars will likely continue to be squandered in the future with no solution in sight.

Just think how welcomed that money could be used to help homeless veterans or seniors in poverty.

This boondoggle raises several questions:

Who are the management executives who led this pay system?

Were they competent?

Were the best people hired for the job?

Where are they today?

Have they been held accountable?

Have they been fired?

Are they in jail?

Are they still on the pay roll?

Have they been shuffled off to the back room?

Have they been pensioned off?

On the other side of the fence are the employees’ largest bargaining units -The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Where are the unions on this question?

Are they fighting for the members?

The PSAC, being the larger of the two, are they taking the lead in this fight?

Where is the union’s leadership on this?

Where is the fight back campaign?

Where is the campaign to educate the public on this dire situation?

Where is the campaign to gain the public’s assistance, support and trust?

If employees are not being paid where is the job action?

Who ever heard of not being paid and continuing to work?

Where are the lunchtime demonstrations?

Where are the days of action?

Where is the national day of rage?

On this question it does appear the union is as useless as the employer in demonstrating leadership.

Given what the taxpayers know today it seems very unlikely a solution will be found within government. Maybe it is time to have the discussion to outsource payroll to the private sector. At this time it is most likely even the most ardent union member would be highly supportive.

One thing we do know is the taxpayer will continue to pay out millions of their hard earned dollars and pay the price of management incompetence.

- Vaughan Davies, Charlottetown, is a former federal government employee and a former member of the P.E.I. branch of the Public Service Alliance of Canada

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