Kamloops government workers relieved Liberals will replace Phoenix pay system

By Chad Klassen
February 28, 2018 - 5:50pm

KAMLOOPS — Jenny Anderson has worked for Service Canada in Kamloops for 20 years, but she's never been more stressed at her job than she has over the Phoenix pay system. 

"I work a lot of overtime, and when this wasn't matching up I was only paid at the 1.5 rate (vs. 1.75/hour overtime rate) because my schedule never changed and followed me once I got my acting position," said Anderson, who's a team leader. "So that's been going on for over a year, and you keep putting in what they call 'tickets' to say 'fix this, here's my schedule.' And they never get to it."

Anderson is a single mother with two teenage boys, who kept her going when she wanted to give up on the system. Now on top of everything, she's been overpaid. 

"I got a phone call saying 'we're fixing this and everything should be looking great.' I had finger crossed, then I got an $11,000 paycheque, so I'm now going to be in an overpayment situation," she said. "I find out it can take three paycheques for them to realize they have overpaid me."

It's a common story across the country, including some government workers who have lost homes over this issues. On Tuesday, Finance Minister Bill Moreau promised during the budget announcement the government will spend $16 million to begin replacing the Phoenix pay system.

On Wednesday, local union representative Brenda Todd hosted a rally in light of the beleaguered pay system, welcoming employees in Kamloops to ask questions and talk about their concerns.

"There was a province in Australia that used a Phoenix system. It was Phoenix itself, but it was an IBM program and it failed for them as well and they wound up scrapping it as well and going with a new system," said Todd. "I think that's the only answer right now. There are just too many problems."

A system that was expected to save the government $70 million a year could end up costing up to $1 billion when all is said and done after implementing a new system. 

But for local Kamloops workers, it'll be worth it. 

"In the new system, we just want something that's reliable," noted Todd. "And something where we can trust that we're being paid correctly and on time. We just want to be paid for the work that we do."

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