National Joint Council (NJC) agreements form part of our contracts and cover a variety of subjects. The more familiar agreements include the Travel Directive, the Public Service Health Care Plan and the Relocation Directive. When members question their entitlements in these areas, the answers are to be found in NJC agreements. In the event of a disagreement over the interpretation of an agreement, the matter can be raised through the grievance procedure.
The National Joint Council was formed in 1944 and includes representatives of 18 unions representing staff in the public service and the Treasury Board. It predates collective bargaining in the public service and continues in a fashion it describes as “co-development”. It does not participate in the formal collective bargaining process between the PSAC and the Treasury Board, but through that process, decisions are made about incorporating NJC agreements into our contracts.
The current article in the PA contract identifies the following NJC agreements:
NATIONAL JOINT COUNCIL AGREEMENTS
(a) The following directives, as amended from time to time by National Joint Council recommendation and which have been approved by the Treasury Board of Canada, form part of this Agreement:
Bilingualism Bonus Directive
Commuting Assistance Directive
Foreign Service Directives
- Boiler and Pressure Vessels Directive
- Committees and Representatives Directive
- Dangerous Substances Directive
- Electrical Directive
- Elevated Work Structures Directive
- Elevating Devices Directive
- First-Aid Allowance Directive
- First-Aid Safety and Health Directive
- Hazardous Confined Spaces Directive
- Material Handling Directive
- Motor Vehicle Operations Directive
- Noise Control and Hearing Conservation Directive
- Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing Directive
- Pesticides Directive
- Refusal to Work Directive
- Sanitation Directive
- Tools and Machinery Directive
Use and Occupancy of Buildings Directive
Isolated Posts Directive
Living Accommodation Charges Directive
Public Service Health Care Plan.
(b) During the term of this Agreement, other directives may be added to the above noted list.
All of these agreements are available on-line at the National Joint Council. However, only a portion of these directives will likely be of direct interest to CEIU members. A brief summary of those most relevant is provided in the following section.
Commonly used agreements
The Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) applies to virtually all CEIU members and their families. It pays for a percentage of many prescription drugs and numerous other items not covered by provincial or territorial health plans.
The NJC agreement that applies to a significant number of CEIU members is the Travel Directive. Meal rates, kilometric rates for the use of automobiles, dependent care and accommodation are among the topics covered.
For members delivering services to Canadians in remote areas, the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive provides assistance with the special costs and conditions unique to these positions.
When the heating or cooling systems at work fail, members will want to consult the Use and Occupancy of Buildings Directive. The directive is also valuable when members are moved to a new office location as it prescribes consultation between the union and management over the new premises.
Members who must move to accept a position in the public service are covered by the new National Joint Council (NJC) Relocation – Integrated Relocation Program (IRP) Directive. This directive states that its aim “…shall be to relocate an employee in the most efficient fashion, at the most reasonable cost to the public while having a minimum detrimental effect on the employee and family and on departmental operations.”
Those members required to wear uniforms are covered by the Uniforms Directive.
Members occupying bilingual positions access the related bonus under the terms of the Bilingual Bonus Directive.
National Joint Council grievances
Grievances against the interpretation and application of NJC agreements do not follow the standard grievance procedure. Instead, they must respect the procedure found in s.14 of the NJC By-Laws, a full discussion of which is available here. (The exceptions to this procedure are disputes regarding the Public Service Health Care Plan which provides a separate appeal process.)
Stewards preparing NJC grievances should contact the union staff representative responsible for their local for assistance with cases of this sort.