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CUPE NB files complaint after thousands of government workers have yet to receive retro pay


The Canadian Union of Public Employees has filed a complaint with the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board after about 4,100 workers have not received retroactive pay following an agreement struck between the union and government in November 2021.

That five-year agreement included a two per cent raise per year, a 25 cent per-hour wage increase in each year and significant wage increases for casual workers.

It came after a 16-day strike that saw schools close, and affected some hospitals - after thousands took to sidewalks across the province picketing for better wages.

Many workers were without a contract for years, and so the agreement included retroactive pay.

But CUPE representatives said Wednesday 4,100 workers have yet to see that pay, which was supposed to be sent 90 days from when the agreement was signed.

“They’re living paycheque to paycheque, and barely at that now, with the cost of living the way it is, gas prices the way it is. It’s very devastating to the membership to know the hard work that went into our raises, to getting to where we are today, and not receive our pay that we worked for, money that we earned four years ago,” said Heather Holland, the vice-president of CUPE 1190, who represents general labour and trades workers.

CUPE NB Communications Representative Simon Ouellette said some workers were expecting the pay, which could amount to a couple thousand dollars, before Christmas 2021.

“This is ridiculous that workers are being denied the pay for work done four years ago,” he said.

The province says about 22,000 employees have seen their retroactive pay within the 90-day window. They acknowledge about 3,500 active employees will be receiving the pay late.

Erika Jutras, the director of communications for New Brunswick’s Department of Finance and Treasury Board, said in an emailed statement that 11 collective agreements have been signed since December 2021.

“This has created an unusually large workload for payroll officers, who must complete separate individual manual retroactive pay calculations for thousands of workers,” she said. “While retroactive payments have been made within the prescribed timeline for many agreements, it has not been possible for all agreements.”

Jutras says retroactive pay for CUPE 2745, which represents educational support staff, will be completed in April. She says that group agreed to extend their deadline.

“Given the high volume of transactions, and to ensure accuracy, additional time is required. We are working diligently to process all retro-pay transactions as quickly as possible and have allocated additional resources to assist with this work,” she said. Top Stories

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