NSGEU has filed multiple individual grievances on behalf of members who used to work for the Department of Economic and Rural Development. ERDT members were issued lay-off notices on Budget Day, April 9th. They were called into meetings by the employer and given just minutes to leave with all their possessions. Their entire department was eliminated. This was shocking enough, but now we are finding the employer is not interpreting the agreement fairly. They are telling members, contrary to what is contained in Articles 37 and Memorandum #2, that they will be cut off their salaries after the 40 day notice expires. This is causing members unnecessary anxiety and hardship.
Memorandum #2 is part of the Civil Service Master collective agreement which enhances job security for our members. These job security terms are good for the employer as well as they help maintain a continuity of a highly trained workforce in the face of organizational change and disruption.
Memorandum #2 prevents a lay-off if no reasonable offer has been made by the employer. Our members received their notice of lay-off on April 9. The notices give 40 days until the actual lay-off takes place. This is 40 days where the employer seeks to find a placement for the laid off worker by following the job security language in Section 37 of the collective agreement and in Memorandum #2. The onus is on the employer to place the laid-off employee in an existing vacancy or to put calls out for voluntary relocations and/or voluntary resignations if vacancies do not exist (Memo #2, Article 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4). If the call outs do not happen and no reasonable offers have been made, the employer cannot lay the employee off according to the terms of the agreement. They should not be threatening members with the loss of their salaries after 40 days.
We also have filed a policy grievance regarding the employer’s refusal to issue callouts for voluntary relocations and/or voluntary resignations (Memo#2, Articles 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4). Unfortunately, the Employer is insisting that, if a vacancy exists anywhere in the Province in the position classification title of an employee who has opted to exercise placement and displacement rights, this satisfies the meaning of Article 1.1 and thus the rest of the Memorandum #2 does not apply. Employees are being forced to choose options which they would not have chosen if they had received the benefit of the vacancies created through the callout process outlined in Memo#2. This does not respect the agreed to process contained in the agreement.