Federal employees affected by Phoenix get out the games to send a message

At another rally opposing the Phoenix pay system the union representing federal public service employees switched up their tactics to make their point.

Using a casino game, the union invited workers to play “Wheel of Misfortune” at Place du Portage on Wednesday.  

Written on this wheel, options including “surprise,” “go to the food bank,” “no mat pay,” and “wrong T4”, among others.

“At some point, we have to think about a little bit of laughing at the ridiculousness of it,” said Greg McGillis, withthe Public Service Alliance of Canada.

McGillis says the options on the wheel are reflective of real situations employees have faced since Phoenix was brought in.

“The key here is to keep the issue in front of decision makers and to make sure the senior decision makers in the departments know that Phoenix is still a problem,” McGillis said.

There have been 650,000 cases related to Phoenix, and 200,000 employees affected, according to PSAC.  

“We’ve had cases of people who have lost their cars, lost their homes, divorces caused by financial stress,” McGillis added.

As of August, 2018, 313,000 financial transaction beyond the normal workload calculated by the Federal Government.

In a statement, a representative with Public Services and Procurement Canada called the pay issues unacceptable.

“It is important to note that mechanisms to issue emergency salary advances or priority payments for missing pay are in place,” wrote Pierre-Alain Bujold, with media relations forPublic Services and Procurement Canada.

Bujold said compensation advisors have been grouped together, known as pay pods, to assist specific departments with outstanding transactions.

“Following a successful pilot project, Pay Pods are being rolled out to more departments and agencies serviced by the Pay Centre through an expansion that started in May 2018,” Bujold wrote.

By October, the Government of Canada expects 24 client departments and more than 100-thousand employees to be served by pods.

The Government also continues its search for a replacement for the Phoenix Pay System.

McGillis says pay pods are great but more needs to happen now to assist those who need help.

“We’re still seeing people suffering and the reaction to that isn’t happened fast enough,” he said.

Between July 25th and August 22nd, 68,000 transactions were processed through the government’s pay centre.