During his town hall in Kingston yesterday — the Prime Minister also got an earful about the flawed software system that issues federal pay cheques. Today, local MP Mark Gerretsen is hearing a similar message. Federal government workers staged an afternoon demonstration outside his Kingston office demanding that his government — “fix phoenix.” Heather Senoran reports.
These protesters say their patience has run thin and they’re extremely frustrated with the flawed Phoenix pay system.
Some employees are being underpaid… or not paid of all… in some cases for several months at a time.
Rej Bruneau/ President, UNDE LOCAL 641:
“People feel that the government has failed them. That they’re implementing a system to try to save money but in the long run it’s actually costing a lot more money.”
Richard McNeill/PSAC Rep:
“Everyday we’ve got people in tears because they’re upset they haven’t got paid and they can’t pay their bills. It’s just a constant battle of trying to get up to date pay.”
The government admits it is struggling with more than 8 thousand backlogged cases where federal workers continue to suffer through issues with the pay system…
During his town hall in Kingston, Prime Minister Trudeau agreed that Phoenix is severely problem-plagued … but promised the government is working extremely hard to fix it.
MP Mark Gerretsen says he understands the frustration of federal workers who protested outside his office.
Mark Gerretsen/MP, Kingston and the Islands:
“Continue to get the horns honking and make people aware of what’s going on. That’s how we’re going to fix this… by continuing to keep the pressure on.”
But what can be done moving forward? These protestors chimed in with what they’d like to see happen.Rej Bruneau:
“We’re trying to work with Mark Gerretsen to open a regional office. If we have 7 thousand public servants here in the city of Kingston, why don’t we have a office right here to help us out.”
Stacey Poste/Department of National Defence:
“I think they need to start addressing the whole issue. Not just Phoenix but the pay centre as well.”
More than a dozen local government employees rallied to ‘fix Phoenix’ – mostly members from the public service alliance of Canada, which is the union that governs all public servants.
“The large group says they will continue to hold protests like these every two weeks moving forward until their voices are heard and the phoenix pay system is fixed.
Heather Senoran CKWS news, Kingston.”