Hay Plan to benefit all
UNW disagrees, system missing elements
by Jeff Colbourne
NNSL (Apr 29/98) - Contract negotiations remain stalled between the Union of Northern Workers and the territorial government.
Among the biggest obstacles to progress is the introduction of a new salary scale known as the Hay Plan.
Territorial director of labor relations Herb Hunt said employees would be better off under the new pay plan, which bridges the contract gulf.
"It provides recognition for outstanding achievement instead of giving increases over time," said Hunt, last Friday.
The Hay Plan, which has been used by the GNWT's non-unionized employees and excluded employees for years, works on a point-based system.
Points are given for each job based on four categories: know-how, problem-solving, accountability and working conditions.
Know-how is defined as the total knowledge and skills needed for acceptable job performance.
Problem-solving measures the extent an employee needs assistance or guidance in terms of instruction, procedures and guidelines to resolve situations.
Accountability refers to answerability of a person's actions.
Working conditions are a measure of the type of conditions where a job is performed.
"All of these factors taken together each produce points and the total points tell you the value of the position in the organization," said Hunt.
The value of the position determines salaries. The more points the greater the salary.
In order to evaluate a position, managers have to be trained and knowledgable of the post. They have to know the context of the job and get information on the position from the people who write the job descriptions, he added.
The past pay system, which has been recognized by the GNWT to be gender-biased, differs from the Hay Plan. The old system operates on a class and grade basis. Hunt said under the system there is no objective criteria to determine salaries and employee worth.
If the Hay Plan is implemented the GNWT will protect the salaries of employees who are currently overpaid and all employees will be given an minimum of a two per cent increase while phasing it in, said Hunt.
Over time, employees will also see salary increases negotiated between the union and the government, he added.
The Union of Northern Workers is not seeing eye to eye on the Hay Plan or the $40 million package the GNWT is offering employees to make up for the lack of pay equity.
Union president Jackie Simpson said a number of aspects are missing, making the pay plan biased again.
"The Hay Plan is missing some very important elements. Accurate job descriptions must be in place. It doesn't have that. Another element it doesn't have is it's not drawn on the workers and their views of the job," said Simpson.
The government has said the Hay Plan is a gender-neutral pay system. The union does not agree.
"I've had departments phone me up and say the point-rating system used was not based on a job description," she said.
"Members have even asked managers to describe the point-rating system to them but managers said, 'no.' Where they got the point-rating system the mangers said they don't know. There is no job description."
Simpson is not saying the Hay Plan cannot work. She is saying that the missed elements have biased the system.
"Whether there are areas of improvement that can be made, which I would suggest there is, I just don't know if there's movement on that," she said.
The union is going to make some suggestions of some problem areas and concerns they have with the system as it stands now and see if there is a way of addressing those concerns.