Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
October 18, 2011

HRSDC’s Plan to Consolidate Compensation an “Exercise In Futility” – CEIU Pushing for Reconsideration

HRSDC’s intention to consolidate the Compensation and Benefits function into two locations seems pointless which has led CEIU to push for those plans to be scrapped.

On October 13, 2011, HRSDC announced that they will be transferring all of their Compensation and Benefits positions to Winnipeg and Montreal.  They expect that this will be done within the next 30 months.  Currently, Compensation Advisors are located in 34 sites across Canada.  In all, there are 194 employees affected by this decision.

Along with wanting to streamline the work, the major reason behind this exercise is to find savings in order to satisfy the Conservative Government’s desire for cost-cutting in the Federal Public Service. 

What makes this decision troubling is the fact that there is already a move afoot to consolidate Compensation and Benefits in Miramichi, New-Brunswick, for all of the Public Service, including HRSDC.  That particular exercise is expected to be completed by 2015, a year later than the time-frame that HRSDC has given itself to complete its own consolidation.  In other words, assuming that everything goes according to both HRSDC’s and Stephen Harper’s plans, those 200 positions could vanish a year later.

In a letter addressed to HRSDC senior management, Steve McCuaig, CEIU National Executive Vice-President explains that “This whole thing seems to be an exercise in futility”.  In essence, Brother McCuaig’s letter suggests that any savings to be had will be dwarfed by the actual costs associated to workforce adjustment. 

Brother McCuaig goes on to say that “If existing agents are to have a decent shot at finding alternative work close to home, something that could circumvent the need for workforce adjustment in many cases, reducing that time-frame by one year could become a serious impediment”. 

In the end, Brother McCuaig is concerned that this initiative will create false expectations of long-term employment for 200 people when the reality is that those jobs are moving to Miramichi.  This is especially problematic for existing employees who decide to relocate to either Winnipeg or Montreal thinking that this will save them from the larger consolidation.

Until now, HRSDC’s Compensation and Benefits Agents were resigned to the fact that they had to change career path or relocate to Miramichi. All this will do is to further complicate things by adding a new dynamic. Members will now be forced to decide between staying and being out of a job a year sooner than anticipated or moving in order to buy themselves an extra year.

If CEIU isn’t able to convince management to reconsider in the short term, the next opportunity will come on December 15, 2011, at the next meeting of the National Labour Management Consultation Committee. At that time, Brother McCuaig and CEIU National President Don Rogers will be meeting face to face with Deputy Minister Ian Shugart to increase the pressure.

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