Non-renewal of CC term contracts: more from UTE National

Non-renewal of term members – CRA Contact Centres

May 8, 2024

Hello Sisters, Brothers and Friends,

Over the past few weeks, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) National Office have held discussions regarding upcoming changes to work schedules at the CRA Contact Centres. According to the employer, these changes will enable it to meet call demand by redistributing its network’s capacity. These meetings were convened in accordance with the collective agreement, and at the invitation of the CRA, to discuss a proposed new schedule concerning the Hours of Work for its Contact Centres.

During these meetings, in addition to discussions on the proposed new schedule, our representatives took the opportunity to ask the employer’s representatives at Assessment, Benefit and Services Branch (ABSB) if there would be any adverse staffing impacts on Contact Centres’ human resources following the tabling of the latest federal budget.

We asked the employer to provide us with the number of employees for each of the Contact Centres for the last cycle (program), as well as the projected number of employees for each of the Contact Centres for the new cycle (program) that is starting. At the beginning of last week, and again today, our representatives again asked to be provided with this information, and to know the expected negative impact on human resources. To date, the employer has replied that it is still analyzing the impact of the budget and would get back to us with more information as soon as possible.

On the morning of Wednesday, May 1, the employer advised us that briefing sessions would be taking place on the same day with our regional and local representatives regarding upcoming changes to the Contact Centres’ work schedules. At no time did the employer advise us that it would be announcing that approximately 1,500 of our term members working in its Contact Centres would see their contracts expiring on May 10 not be renewed. Nor did the employer advise us that it would be consulting with Locals and Regional Vice-Presidents (RVPs) on human resources impacts.

To add insult to injury, the CRA did this on International Workers’ Day, at the same time as announcing an increase in the number of days of mandatory on-site presence.

In a meeting with the Agency’s Commissioner last Thursday, I told him how insulting and unacceptable the Agency’s behaviour was on a number of issues, and spoke specifically, amongst other things, about the non-renewal of contracts for many of our members working in Contact Centres. I raised the point that the Agency will not be able to provide the customer service that Canadians have a right to expect from the CRA by not renewing the contracts of approximately 1,500 of our term members.

We are outraged by the employer’s decision and the ill-conceived actions of the CRA and the Government of Canada in taking this action.

Even though we are still waiting for the employer to provide us with the information for us to determine the specific impact on our term members, in the interim, we are meeting to develop a strategy to effectively respond to this decision and to try to provide for employment security for our term members. To this point, I have asked the Chair of UTE’s Political Action Committee to convene a meeting forthwith to develop a campaign aimed at Members of Parliament, the Office of the Auditor General, the general public and taxpayer advocacy groups to engage them in our efforts. Moreover, we are analyzing other methods of recourse and their effectiveness in addressing this issue. Further information will be disseminated in due course.

We vigorously denounce this shameful decision by the Canada Revenue Agency not to renew the contracts of approximately 1,500 of our hard-working members who provided the necessary services needed by the Canadian public and to help this employer and the Government of Canada meet its program objectives and commitments.

It is inconceivable that the Canada Revenue Agency in its discussions with us and the Government of Canada’s commitment to Canadians as promised in its last federal budget how it will not only maintain but improve services to Canadians by reducing its workforce. In fact, we are certain that by reducing the number of employees responding to individual taxpayer inquiries and business inquiries, it will extend wait times for responding to calls, reduce the number of inquiries fielded by available employees from taxpayers and businesses, and will significantly and adversely impact taxpayer service.

In closing, I would like you to know that our union is proud of our members working in Contact Centres and we will continue to work tirelessly on your behalf to defend your rights. We will also work to ensure that the CRA and the Government of Canada show tangible means to grant you the recognition and respect that you so greatly deserve, instead of just providing lip service.

In Solidarity,

Marc Brière
National President
Union of Taxation Employees

(original posted on UTE National website)

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