News / Ottawa

Union head wants Liberals to kill Phoenix pay system, start again

Debi Daviau said many of the members she represents — many IT workers tasked with fixing the pay system — have lost confidence in Phoenix.

Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, speaks to reporters at the National Press theatre in Ottawa on Nov. 14, 2017.

Ryan Tumilty / Metro Order this photo

Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, speaks to reporters at the National Press theatre in Ottawa on Nov. 14, 2017.

One of the public service’s largest unions said the Phoenix pay system isn't going to rise from the ashes — and it’s time to abandon it and start anew.

Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), said her members have lost confidence in Phoenix. She said many of the people she represents are IT workers now tasked with fixing the beleaguered pay system, and they have been blunt.

“They are the ones that are on the ground trying to fix this system and they now believe it can never fully be fixed,” she said at a news conference Tuesday.

Daviau said they believe they can have a new system up and ready for testing within a year.

“We can get a stable pay system up and running faster than this would take to fix,” she said.

She added the government is spending millions of dollars patching and trying to repair the system that could be better spent starting from scratch.

“We will never have a stable pay system going this route,” she said. “Enough is enough.”

She said she hopes despite the embarrassment, the government will realize it’s time to pull the plug.

“I’m really hoping this well-thought-through solution, which I have communicated with them, will strike a chord with decision makers.”

Daviau believes the work could be done by IT staff already on the government payroll, making this a cheaper solution than continuing the contract with IBM to repair Phoenix.

A stable, reliable pay system is the government’s responsibility, she said. And at this point, she’s willing to help them put together some ideas.

“I don’t believe it’s my job as the president of the union to bring them an IT solution, but I need my members to be paid."

Minister Carla Qualtrough was unavailable Tuesday, but her spokesperson Ashley Michnowski said they want the issue resolved.

“We are committed to finding a permanent solution. Our priority is to get public servants paid accurately as soon as possible."

She did not address PIPSC's specific suggestion.

"We called in the Auditor General in order to help better understand the problems. We look forward to that report when it is made public next week.”

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