Millions of dollars owed in pay equity: health unions want a date

Lia Levesque, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Thousands of healthcare workers are growing impatient with continued pay equity delays. Several of them are owed sums of up to $52,000. The unions are asking for a payment date.

These salary adjustments vary according to the job title and place on the salary scale, in particular.

They refer to speech therapists, for example, and other jobs held mainly by women.

Last February, the unions concerned had estimated the sums owed in pay equity at $1.15 billion in relation to the 2010 and 2015 complaints.

These unions still insist today on having a payment date. The FTQ-affiliated Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) notes that only “a handful of establishments announce dates.”

In an interview on Friday, the president of the APTS (Alliance of professional and technical personnel in health and social services), Robert Comeau, indicated that the month of June was mentioned by employers.

The APTS had reached an agreement on June 29, 2021, which stipulated that the employer had six months to pay the amounts owed, that is, until last January. She is still waiting, deplored Mr. Comeau.

Some 3,500 APTS members are concerned.

According to APTS calculations, dental hygienists who were at the top of their ladder in December 2010, full-time, and still employed in 2020, could receive $16,000; speech therapists-audiologists in the same situation, $52,000; deputy file managers, $36,000 and dieticians-nutritionists, $35,000.

Mr. Comeau reports a mix of frustration and disappointment among his members.

“We ask them to be there, to provide additional services. And they find that, on the other hand, their boss is asking them a lot, but they are not able to deliver the goods, which is the basics, that is, their salary or what is owed to them. .

“It just has a very, very…negative impact on motivation. And there is a certain mockery, a certain letting go that settles in: we don’t believe it very much anymore”, summarized Mr. Comeau.

At the Treasury Board, press secretary Florence Plourde admits that processing times are longer than expected, but recalls that Treasury has signed 10 pay equity agreements with 11 labor organizations, affecting 100,000 people, which it is a daunting task.

“With agreements of this magnitude, there is an important administrative issue. Processing times are longer than initially anticipated, but a rigorous process for calculating and paying pay equity adjustments needs to be applied to avoid mistakes,” he said to be worth it.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services and health facility payroll services “are working hard to pay salary adjustments as soon as possible,” he added.

This problem of delinquency has also affected salary increases and bonuses, although they are in the process of being reduced. Mr. Comeau clarified that employers have indicated that their priority is first on these arrears due under collective agreements, then on COVID bonuses, and then on pay equity.

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