As Phoenix pay problems drag on, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is calling on the federal government to double the number of information technology experts tasked with repairing the failing payroll system.
About 30 government computer programmers are currently working alongside IBM contractors to fix Phoenix, according to PIPSC. The union wants another 30 to 40 federal IT employees transferred over to help speed up the process.
“Outsourcing hurts all Canadians,” said Greg Scriver, PIPSC’s director for the national capital region. “The government keeps putting more and more money into it, and we could have done it a lot easier and a lot faster.”
PIPSC represents 55,000 scientists, professionals and computer systems employees in the federal public sector. More than half its members have been affected by the Phoenix fiasco, said Scriver, including himself.
His own problems started after he replaced his boss, who was on leave. Scriver said he found himself earning hundreds of dollars less instead of getting a temporary pay raise, but he said it was a minor problem compared to others he knows who weren’t paid for months and risked losing their homes because they couldn’t make mortgage payments.
Federal IT workers have skills, drive
Scriver said the Phoenix repair team can draw from a pool of 18,000 federal IT workers who have not only the coding skills, but also the drive to fix the problems because they have the most at stake.
“As a public servant there is pride in working for the Canadian government. We would take pride in actually making sure the system works,” Scriver said.
PIPSC has made fixing Phoenix its central mission, a message the union reinforced with its float in the annual Labour Day parade in Ottawa Monday.
A huge banner declaring the union was “on board to fix Phoenix” was draped across an open-top bus, while a spooky black mascot representing Phoenix danced and waved from the vehicle. As the bus meandered down Elgin Street, PIPSC president Debi Daviau chanted over a microphone, “We just want to get paid.”
PIPSC wants more internal IT workers fixing Phoenix pay system
Daviau said this Labour Day should have been a celebration of better relations between federal public servants and their…