A union representing more than 5,000 Telus technicians and clerical staff across Canada says a new payroll system has caused chaos for its members.
Donna Hokiro, national president of United Steelworkers Local 1944, said over the past two months members have faced a variety of problems: some have been paid too little, some have been paid too much and then face clawbacks of their earnings, while others have had benefits and overtime incorrectly calculated.
The union is likening the errors to the infamous Phoenix payroll system that saw thousands of federal workers’ pay thrown into chaos.
“It has been a nightmare and that is not hyperbole,” said Hokiro.
She estimates at least 1,000 workers have had issues, but says as many as half of its members who work at Telus could be having some degree of difficulty.
She says the problems have been seen over four pay periods and she wants Telus to find a solution.
“This is causing real, real harm. People are missing rent payments, mortgage payments. They are seriously in dire straits.”
In a statement, Telus said it switched payroll software to make things easier for employees.
It says it is monitoring the situation and is supporting any employees having issues.
“In the event that any team member receives an inaccurate pay amount, we are prioritizing and resolving these instances on an individual basis as quickly as possible, including manual adjustments where necessary,” the statement read.
Cory Anderson, a Local 1944 union rep for southeast Alberta and a technician for the company, says he’s experienced errors personally: one paycheque had 30 hours too many, another 30 hours too few, plus issues with stat holiday pay.
“We’re seeing issues ranging from members missing half their paycheques … We’ve had several members that haven’t been paid at all, which is quite concerning,” Anderson said.
He said the union has filed about 300 grievances over the problems.
“And there’s many, many, many people who haven’t filed a grievance as of yet,” he said. “They’re hoping to … resolve it but we know this affects a lot of people.”
Anderson and Hokiro say they want Telus to sort out the issues quickly with the holidays coming up and end-of-year tax statements soon to be finalized.