CS bargaining sessions took place on November 1 and 20, 2006. By the end of the second day it became apparent that a settlement was not possible. The CS Group Bargaining Team felt very strongly that, with an agreement that expired in December 2004 and with the many delays that the group has experienced, at the very least, any settlement should mirror the public service CS group. After all, our bargaining has been delayed pending settlement of that group. The main sticking points were the deletion of the current Marriage Leave provision, the addition of 5 additional days of annual leave, and the deletion of Appendix A (Terminable Allowance) and Appendix B (Hours of Work). The public service CS Group (the main point of comparison used by NRC) has the additional 5 days of annual leave as do many other groups in the public service.
Your bargaining team felt that adding 5 extra days of annual leave would clearly benefit the majority of members, while the deletion of marriage leave would only impact a very small minority. The teams felt that it was very important to keep pace with the public service. NRC, for its part, did not invoke the usual refrain that Treasury Board had not given them a mandate (permission) to provide this benefit. Rather, they claimed they were not interested in extending this benefit and also could not afford to do so. We have estimated the cost of extending this benefit to the CS group, for example, to be approximately $350,000. Surely keeping NRC employees in line with their public service counterparts is worth this amount.
The next step is to request the establishment of an Arbitration Board. Arbitration Boards are three person tribunals under the Public Service Labour Relations Act. After the submission of oral and written arguments, these Boards render final and binding decisions on outstanding items to be contained in collective agreements.
We will be seeking decisions on several outstanding items, including the terminable allowance, pay and duration.
Your bargaining team has decided that, despite the length of time since the expiry of the current agreement, they will not be hurried into a poor agreement. They feel it is more important to get the best agreement possible. We trust that all CS group members will support the RCEA in this.
Please note that the CS Terminable Allowance will remain in effect until a new agreement is signed or an Arbitral Award is issued. Please let us know if you do not receive your January 2007 allowance.