The Minister of Industry has approved the tentative agreement and it has been sent on to the Treasury Board and the Governor-in-Council. WE do not know when it will be signed.
Workforce Adjustment Policy: The Workforce Adjustment Policy is a joint document that deals with what happens in the event of job cuts. It covers the identification of surplus employees, the marketing of surplus employees, the rights and obligations of surplus employees and the benefits available. The last policy was negotiated almost 10 years ago. Two years ago, the RCEA and PIPS jointly prepared demands and recommendations for a review of the Policy. That review, with NRC, was completed on July 5, 2004. Significant changes have been agreed upon and the new policy will now form part of all collective agreements. The new policy should be signed and implemented shortly. If you have any questions, please call the RCEA office.
Pay Equity: As reported in January 2004, the Canadian Human Rights Commission recommended that the file be referred to a Human Rights Tribunal. Both the RCEA and NRC objected to this, as this would have allowed the CHRC to wipe its hands of the matter and required both the union and the employer to argue a full case before the Tribunal. The issue with our pay equity complaint is that there is no study that deals with the situation going back to 1985. This is what we were relying on the CHRC to complete. To go before a CHRC tribunal without such a study would certainly mean that our complaint would fail. We have written to the CHRC and demanded that they fulfill their mandate and conduct a study. To date, the only response that we have received is a letter advising us that their Pay Equity Section is now comprised of one person, whose responsibility it is to deal with all the outstanding files. We have not heard from the CHRC since that letter.
The situation does not look good. We cannot argue for pay equity back to 1985 or at least 1990 without a study. We do not have the staff or financial resources to conduct such a study. (The consultants that NRC almost hired estimated the cost of such a study as close to $1 million.) We have to rely on the CHRC and they do not seem able or willing to carry out such a study.
We are in the process of consulting with legal counsel to determine if there is another approach that can be taken in this long running dispute. Further information will be posted as it becomes available.