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Payroll ‘chaos’: Thousands of Alberta government workers missing pay after tech problems

Click to play video: 'Technical problems leave thousands of Alberta government employees missing pay' Technical problems leave thousands of Alberta government employees missing pay
WATCH ABOVE: A new payroll system launched by the province for its workers is cutting some paychecks short. The union representing as many as 5,000 impacted employees says this is unacceptable and needs to be resolved immediately. Chris Chacon reports – Jan 16, 2021

A new payroll system put into place for Government of Alberta workers has left many of them short money after issues with the changeover.

The government launched its new 1GX (One Government eXperience) payroll system in December. It is described as a “new suite of online business application” that is a “modern solution [that] supports many functions across government.”

However, on Saturday, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said that it believes the new system was launched for payroll before it was ready and has left as many as 5,000 workers owed money.

“Our members are angry and rightly so,” said Susan Slade, the vice-president of AUPE. “This system was introduced before it was ready and there was inadequate training for workers or managers.

“It is clearly incapable of handling the complexity of a large, complex workforce with members working a vast variety of different jobs and different shifts.”

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AUPE represents more than 90,000 Alberta workers, including around 20,000 who are directly employed by the government.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Service Alberta said Saturday that the government is working to address the issues.

“During the support phase of this large-scale transformation, a small percentage of Government of Alberta staff was underpaid,” said an emailed statement from press secretary Tricia Velthuizen.

“We understand the concerns that staff have on this, we are resolving those concerns as soon as possible, and are confident that the issues experienced will not be a long-term concern.”

On Sunday, Service Alberta followed up with Global News and said that it had received 531 official reports of payroll issues.

However, AUPE said Sunday it believed the problem is “widespread.”

“We are hearing from lots of members that have been affected by the payroll problems since the Government of Alberta introduced the 1GX system. We don’t have exact numbers yet, but we know the problem is large,” said an emailed statement Sunday from Slade.

“Many members have talked to their managers and have talked to their union representatives, but not all have made formal complaints yet. Indeed, we have been told that some managers are encouraging members not to lodge official complaints.”

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Slade added the union has advised workers to report the issue to the 1GX help desk, inform their manager in writing, and contact their representative in the union.

Click to play video: 'Rally in Edmonton marks 4 years of Phoenix pay system issues' Rally in Edmonton marks 4 years of Phoenix pay system issues
Rally in Edmonton marks 4 years of Phoenix pay system issues – Feb 19, 2020

AUPE says that it has concerns because of the issues the federal government had with its Phoenix pay system. That system has been plagued with problems since its launch and led to some employees receiving no payments for months while others were overpaid.

Read more: ‘It’s been tough’: Federal civil servants lament 4 years of issues with Phoenix pay system

The union added that it is working with the government to resolve the issues but believes the “unacceptable” situation could have been avoided.

“It’s bad enough that these dedicated workers have to go to work every day enduring attacks from the government, facing thousands of job losses and attempts to slash their wages, but to not pay them for their work is insulting,” Slade said.

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