Alberta News

Glitch in new payroll system leaves thousands of government workers without pay

Andrew Khoroshavin photo

EDMONTON – Problems with a new payroll system have caused thousands of Government of Alberta workers not to be paid, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).

“A new system called 1GX introduced in December is causing chaos,” said Susan Slade, vice-president of AUPE, which represents more than 90,000 workers, including more than 20,000 directly employed by the government.

“I know the UCP government likes to blame the federal government for all its woes, but this time it seems to have decided to mimic the problems created by Ottawa’s Phoenix payroll system,” she said.

“Our members are angry and rightly so,” she added. “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.”

AUPE estimates at many as 5,000 workers may be owed money or have experienced problems, but the scale of the problem is not yet clear.

“This is the result of top-down, management incompetence and workers are paying the price,” said Slade. “It’s a slap in the face to all these employees who are working on the front lines of a pandemic and economic crisis. They should not have to fight to get the money they are owed. They have bills to pay and need the money.”

AUPE is working with the employer to resolve issues, but members want to see action before the problems grow to Phoenix-like proportions.

A Jan. 8 management email to some members about problems dating back more than a month said that there was no estimated time when problems would be fixed. It added: “Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to expedite or correct this.”

Slade reacted saying, “This is unacceptable. 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. It’s par for the course for a government that can’t seem to get anything right.”