AUDIT, FINANCIAL AND SCIENTIFIC (AFS) GROUP NEWS
For decades, our employer has acknowledged that they will not pay us salaries that are comparable to the private sector, but as partial compensation, they will pay us deferred salary in the form of a fair pension plan. Now this is also under attack as the government panders to private interests like the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, who try to reduce compensation in Canada to third world levels. Stay informed and pay attention as we stand up for our right to protect our right to receive a fair pension.
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AFS Group News
Provincial Sales Tax Administration Reform is a reality with Canada entering into agreements with Ontario and British Columbia to bring in harmonized sales taxes. CRA also announced that the GST/HST business line would be reorganized to the disadvantage of our members.
As the AFS Group did not agree to the inclusion of a New Business Acquisitions clause in our collective agreement, CRA had to negotiate with the AFS Group when they committed to administering HST for BC and Ontario.
These negotiations resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding being reached between CRA and the AFS Group.
Years of service will be recognized for incoming staff and CRA agreed to numerous conditions including the continuation of AU1s and AU2s in the GST/HST program.
CRA also committed to consult with PIPSC on classification reform; the definition of what constitutes auditing work; the GST/HST complexity formula; the structure of the GST/HST business line; and the grievance procedure.
Town hall meetings are being held for our members to provide more information.
Changes to the GST/HST business line will start taking effect as of July 1, 2010. AUs currently doing GST/HST prepayment audit work will be offered another AU position. All AUs will continue to hold AU positions in the new organization. AU auditors will be responsible for the audit of one tax only.
It is anticipated that the GST/HST prepayment audit work previously done by AUs will be transferred to SP positions represented by UTE.
All employees who meet the prerequisites for these SP positions will be able to apply including AUs. The initial placements will be short term acting assignments with permanent placements done through competitive processes.
There are some items for consideration by AUs who may want to apply for the prepayment workload SP positions.
For one, the carry-over of vacation credits is restricted under the UTE contract. All vacation leave credits in excess of 262.5 hours go into a protected bank with a minimum draw down of 75 hours per year.
Second, the PSAC/UTE contract does not provide for volunteer leave. An AU would have to use this leave before accepting an SP position or lose it.
Third, the PSAC/UTE contract does not contain an article for the earning of one-time vacation leave.
Fourth, the potential for advancement may be limited in the prepayment program. Experience obtained in the prepayment program may not qualify as suitable job related experience for staffing processes in the AU levels.
We are calling these items to your attention so that you may make an informed decision with respect to applying for the new SP-07 and 08 jobs.
Call for Bargaining Concerns
Our current collective agreement expires December 21, 2011.
In preparation for the next round of bargaining, our AFS Executive is asking all AFS Subgroup and CS Zone Presidents to consult with their local members and provide us with up to three non-pay bargaining issues along with specific rationale for why each of these changes are needed.
This process will allow our bargaining team to develop a more focused member survey and to concentrate on the issues of greatest concern for our members. The rationales are essential as they provide us with a foundation for bargaining for these items.
Subgroup and Zone Presidents are requested to provide their issues and rationales to their Regional Representatives by September 30, 2010.
This would also be an excellent time to share ideas for improvements to our Public Service Health Care Plan, as PIPSC will be separately negotiating this plan, along with our fellow federal public service unions.
AFS Group Returns to Consultation
The AFS Group has returned to formal consultations with the Agency and is now attending Union Management Consultation (UMC) meetings at the local, regional and national levels.
At UMC meetings, we address issues of mutual concern. While individual issues are not discussed, matters that affect the workplace such as staffing plans, management policies and changes to the organization are discussed.
Issues within your workplace that you wish to be brought to the attention of Senior Management should be provided to your local steward.
Items that cannot be resolved at the local UMC level may be elevated to the regional or national UMC level.
At the conclusion of bargaining, we agreed to have a Public Service Labour Relations Board complaint referred to mediation. Our complaint related to unfulfilled obligations of CRA arising from the Corporate Tax Administration for Ontario transfer of employees.
We are pleased to announce that CRA agreed to fulfil their obligation to create and staff a specific number of AU4 and AU5 positions within specified time frames. We are closely monitoring this staffing to ensure that it takes place as agreed.
There were also important issues that CRA had agreed to review as part of our original CTAO Agreement. These promises were made well before we withdrew from consultations, but no reviews had commenced.
Firstly, CRA will set up an advisory committee to work on a formal complaint mechanism for internal staffing.
Secondly, we will discuss our concerns with the conduct of CRA Internal Affairs investigations, including the role of our stewards.
Actings are meant to fill short-term operational needs. In order to ensure transparency and fairness, an expression of interest, commonly known as a call letter, should be issued making staff aware of the acting opportunity. If this best practice is not being done in your work area, kindly contact your local steward.
As well, it would be beneficial for you to indicate on your Individual Learning Plan (ILP) that you wish to expand your experience, broaden your knowledge, and acquire new skills through acting opportunities.
Recourse is also required. For acting appointments less than six months, individual feedback is available. For actings six months or longer, individual feedback and decision review are available.
Please note that long term vacancies not being filled on an indeterminate basis is a cause for concern as well. Should this be an issue in your workplace, make your local steward aware so the matter can be addressed.
As of April 1, 2010, most selection processes will require that to be screened into a process, you must first meet the required base competencies.
All members should continue to avail themselves of Observe and Attest and Voluntary Assessments to obtain their competency levels.
Remember that there is a six month waiting period to re-test a competency using the same method. So, for example, if you did not achieve a level using Observe and Attest, you will have to use another method to get that competency. As there is only one method of obtaining Writing Skills, you may want to get this test completed as soon as possible.
Also as of April 1, an “Advance Notice” alerting staff six months in advance as to an upcoming internal selection process will be mandatory. Keep a look-out for such notices in your workplace.
Locally Developed Staffing Tools
Even with “end-state” staffing, “locally developed tools” will continue in the form of an “additional assessment of a competency and/or qualification.”
The reality is that after ten years of the CRA’s competency regime, the CRA is back to where it started. Written and/or oral exams will be used to determine who is the best fit for the job.
Please be aware that you are entitled to receive the answer grid and your marked paper prior to your Individual Feedback meeting(s). Ask for this and any other relevant information concerning your assessment when you file your Individual Feedback request.
You are also entitled to more than one Individual Feedback meeting if your questions have not been fully answered in one meeting. So please make sure that your questions or concerns are fully addressed before you agree that your Individual Feedback is complete.
CRA’s Alternative Staffing Complaint Mechanism
After two plus years of development, we have received the CRA’s first cut of this proposed mechanism.
We had been arguing for the creation of an ombudsman to address staffing issues affecting all participants in a staffing process, as opposed to individual concerns.
We are in the process of reviewing this document and will seek clarification from the CRA.
Our 2009 PIPSC Annual General Meeting confirmed that PIPSC member dues will not increase in 2010.
This is an achievement considering the costs incurred for bargaining and that PIPSC dues have not increased in several years.
Misuse of Employer’s Email System
We continue to see the employer aggressively disciplining staff for employee misuse of their email system. Do not use CRA’s email system for such things as sports pools, chain letters, or any type of personal communication that would increase email traffic. Personal emails should be limited.
For further information, refer to the CRA’s Electronic Network Policy Guidelines and Code of Ethics and Conduct.
It has also recently come to our attention that newer photocopiers contain hard drives that store copies of every document scanned.
We should all keep this in mind when using photocopiers at work or in other locations.
VIA Rail Discounts
The discount received by PIPSC members for VIA Rail travel has increased from 7% to 10%. Up to three additional passengers can travel with the member. Visit www.viarail.ca or call 1-888-VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) and quote our corporate number 810644.
The easiest way to automatically get your 10% discount is to set it up online as follows:
After setting up your profile as shown above, your discount will automatically be applied to online purchases and customer service assisted reservations with your VIA Preference Number.
Medical / Dental Appointments
As you may be aware, the CRA has dictated that for medical / dental appointments, the total period of absence was to be charged against an employee's sick leave credits, if the medical appointment exceeded one-half day (3.75 hours).
You should be aware that, effective immediately, should an employee's medical appointment exceed one half day (3.75 hours), the entire period does not need to be charged against sick leave credits. The balance of the time required for the appointment in excess of 3.75 hours may now be charged to sick leave where applicable, or to another type of leave such as vacation, compensatory or leave without pay.
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