ILO COMMITTEE OF FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATIONS COMPLAINTS SINCE 1982
Case No. 1859:CANADA / FEDERAL
Complainants:Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)
The Government announced an employment reduction program.Restrictions on collective bargaining in the federal public service were legislatively imposed by the Budget Implementation Act, 1995 (Bill C-76), which modified the Public Sector Compensation Act. Bill C-76 suspended the operation of job security provisions in the Work Force Adjustment Directive (WFAD) and banned negotiation of job security provisions for a three-year period.These measures allowed the federal government to implement a massive employment reduction program.
Even though federal public servants negotiated job security, it has been lost by adoption of Bill C-76. Workers are unable to negotiate provisions relating to job security for a three-year period, meaning that the employer can impose an essential component of employment conditions.Amendments suggested by PSAC were rejected out of hand.This legislation violates Convention Nos. 87, 98, 151 and 154.
The Government has not implemented any of the CFA's recommendations from Case No. 1800 (a related case on the topic of restraints on collective bargaining). Legislated restrictions on collective bargaining have become a permanent feature of the federal public service bargaining structure.
The federal Government is a unique employer that plays the dual roles of employer and guardian of the more general public interest.Budgetary restrictions demanded a significant reduction in the public service workforce.The Government made extensive attempts to settle the issue by negotiation, without success.The proposals made by PSAC were insufficient.The severity of the fiscal situation demanded legislative intervention.
While Government is always faced with serious budgetary difficulties, preference should be given as far as possible to collective bargaining in the public service.
While certain matters relating to management and operation of government business can be excluded from collective bargaining, job security includes a number of issues that relate primarily to conditions of employment, and should therefore be the subject of collective bargaining.
Bill C-76 is set to expire in one year's time.The CFA urges the Government not to adopt any further restrictions on the scope of collective bargaining once the legislation expires.
No mechanism exists to resolve impasses regarding the WFAD.Government should implement the recommendation made in Case No. 1800 to establish conciliation/mediation/arbitration in this area.
1.Following the expiry of Bill C-76, the Government should refrain from imposing any further restriction on negotiation of job security provisions.
2.The Government should consider establishing a procedure of conciliation/mediation/arbitration to settle WFAD disputes.