The PEI government will examine the "future costs" of the public sector service gratuity — retirement allowance — in its upcoming budget. Workers concerned this could lead to a reduction in benefits to save the province money.
Charlottetown (14 April 2016) — Following the Speech from the Throne in Prince Edward Island, Karen Jackson, President of the P.E.I. Union of Public Sector Employees (PEIUPSE/NUPGE) raised concerns about the government eyeing retirement benefits.
PEIUPSE/NUPGE concerned that review of benefits will become cuts to retirement security
In a recent CBC interivew, Jackson said that the reference to a "review of future benefit arrangements in the public service, including service gratuity" set off alarm bells for PEIUPSE/NUPGE members.
As Jackson points out in the interview, "It's a retirement allowance. It's based on the number of years that you serve. I believe it's very important. People serving in the public service get this retirement benefit at the end of their term."
Negotiations must take place before any changes to benefits
"Maybe their intent is to reduce these benefits. But in saying that, it's important to note that the retiring pay provisions are a negotiated item and that changes to these benefits must be negotiated through the collective bargaining process, which involves give and take on both sides," Jackson continued.
The government officials suggested that it was focused on "future costs" for retirement benefits. According to the CBC, they indicated that the public service workers "deserves a great deal of credit for its budgetary frugality in helping government to balance operational spending and revenues."
Jackson indicated that the union would be following up on this issue with the government.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE