Trudeau asked to order a halt to collection of 'gross' Phoenix overpayments

Unions representing more than 225,000 federal public servants are appealing directly to the prime minister for an order to block the government from collecting more money from its employees than they received in overpayments through the troubled Phoenix pay system.

In a letter to Justin Trudeau issued Friday, the leaders of 17 unions are also demanding compensation be paid to civil servants for the suffering they've endured as a result of the pay crisis.

The demands coincide with this month's second anniversary of the launch of the electronic pay system and ahead of protests planned for Feb. 28.

Since the launch of the Phoenix system in 2016, tens of thousands of federal employees have been underpaid, not paid at all or overpaid.

Those who received overpayments were told to report the mistakes before mid-January or risk having to repay the gross amount paid, in some cases amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, rather than the net amounts deposited to their bank accounts.

The unions say civil servants should not be required to repay more than they received.