Sunday, July 13, 2014

CSEC contract talks at an impasse

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is accusing CSEC and the Treasury Board of ignoring the recommendations of the Public Interest Commission established to help resolve the differences between CSEC and its employees in the currently stalled contract negotiations. (Previous report here.)

Approximately 1900 of CSEC's 2200 employees are unionized (all employees "excluding directors, persons above the rank of director, employees involved in the planning, development, delivery or management of human resources, and such other persons employed in a managerial or confidential capacity").

A new contract between CSEC and its employees is long overdue. The last contract expired on February 9th, 2012, and even the contract currently under negotiation is scheduled to expire in February 2015, about seven months from now.

The Public Interest Commission presented its recommendations for resolving the impasse, which are non-binding, to CSEC and PSAC on June 2nd, 2014.

However, according to PSAC, CSEC has since refused to accept any of the commission's recommendations:
Unfortunately, even though the union made changes to our demands as per the PIC report, the employer did not move off their original offer imposed on them by Treasury Board back in September of last year. They've effectively ignored the PIC Report.
Interestingly, the union blames the impasse on Treasury Board rather than CSEC, asserting that "this round of negotiations would have been successfully concluded by now, [were] it not for the undue interference of Treasury Board."

A final round of discussions is scheduled for September, after which it is possible that the talks will break off entirely.

At that point, a strike would be a theoretical possibility. I think there is little or no chance that CSEC employees would ever agree to take that step, but they might decide to undertake more limited actions, such as assorted work-to-rule measures.

The previous collective agreement between CSEC and its employees, and earlier versions, can be found here.


Update 27 January 2015:

The September talks produced an interim agreement to extend the previous contract, with minor adjustments, to cover the period from the previous contract's expiry to 9 February 2015 (details here). So it looks like CSE's new chief will take over just as the contract once again expires.

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