Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
March 29, 2005

Students in the Workplace

The departments and agencies where CEIU members work often hire students, especially in the summer months. While CEIU and its members support providing opportunities for students, this support comes with important reservations.

First, CEIU does not believe that students should be used as a source of cheap labour. They should be compensated at the appropriate pay rates that are found in our collective agreements. As a rule, the government uses a set of pay rates for students which are well below our negotiated rates. However, there is a provision in the Treasury Board’s Student Employment Policy [5.3(c)] that points managers in the direction of paying students at the appropriate rate:

Student rates are not directly related to the work performed, whereas classified rates are. Therefore, managers wishing to assign students a full set of classified duties should instead appoint them to a classified position through the regular staffing process, and pay them at the classified rate.

In a sense, this is obvious: hire students through the usual staffing process and pay them in keeping with the position they occupy. Locals are encouraged to speak with their managers about the use of this option which provides fairer treatment for students.

If management maintains that a student is not being hired to carry out a full set of duties, it is critical to see if the requirements of the Student Employment Policy, including the development of a structured learning plan, are being met.

Second, student hiring should not result in the loss of jobs for union members. This is an especially important matter in view of tightening budgets that are endangering the continued employment of term members. Locals need to pay close, on-going attention to management’s staffing plans to ensure that student hiring does not undermine the job security of our members who are terms.

There is no effective legal recourse available to the union to challenge abuses of the Student Employment Policy, including a use of students that can threaten our term members. Any successful challenge will come through negotiations with management and the effective organizing of members in support of the union’s position. In view of this, members should speak with the National Vice-President responsible for their region for assistance.

Search This Website

The Personal