On November 2, National Joint Council bargaining agents sent a strongly worded letter to Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos expressing their anger over the recent introduction of new guidelines on the use of “Other Leave With Pay (699)”.
This is our third letter to senior government ministers on this issue over the past few weeks. We first brought it to their attention in late August, and followed up in early October. While some improvements were made to the original draft guidelines, they still fail to take into account the very difficult circumstances that so many of our members still find themselves in.
As unions, we have a responsibility to stand up for all our members, particularly the most vulnerable amongst us. We are asking the employer to hold off implementing these changes until at least January 2021 so our members can carry on with their existing parental or caregiver commitments, and to allow for further discussions with bargaining agents over that period.
If the government fails to address our remaining concerns over Code 699, public service bargaining agents will have little choice but to pursue formal recourse. We remain hopeful, however, that what should have been an entirely avoidable dispute will be resolved soon. Our members’ focus should be on continuing to serve Canadians, not on having to choose between work and personal or family obligations.