The Government of Nunavut is in the process of reviewing salaries paid to its staff and examining job classifications.
The GN issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the initiative in March. On May 5, the contract was awarded to Western Management Consultants (WMC), officials confirmed to Nunavut News earlier this month.
WMC beat out two other bidders for the contract, but government officials did not respond to questions about the price of the winning bid.
The winning firm, which has offices in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto, has a big job on its hands.
According to the GN’s March RFP, the purpose of the project is threefold: to “conduct a comprehensive salary review,” to “conduct a comprehensive review of job evaluation processes, practices and tools,” and to provide any necessary training.
The RFP also noted the the review will “include an analysis of where GN salaries rank relative to other provincial and territorial governments, and provide recommendations for the GN to identify positions that may require supplements to (the) base salary to attract and retain employees.”
“Out to lunch.”
Roughly 4,000 of the GN’s workforce are represented by the Nunavut Employees Union (NEU).
NEU President Jason Rochon believes the Salary and Job Classification Process and Review is necessary, but long overdue — and that is not for his union’s lack of trying.
“We’re talking about an employer that has been working with a Nunavut Northern Allowance formula that’s been broken for decades,” he said, referencing the GN’s current salary model, which provides workers with an allowance ranging from $15,016 to $34,455 annually to counterbalance the territory’s high cost of living.
“We told them we would fix that for them,” said Rochon. “We’re open to being part of the solution, but we are really concerned with how out of touch the GN is, and how out to lunch they are when it comes to workers.”
While the primary goals of this initiative will be to review the GN’s salaries and job classifications, Rochon hopes that, by the time it is completed, there will be clearer and more frequent conversations between the employer and its workers.
“We’re hearing from workers all the time,” said the union leader. “We heard from a worker literally 20 minutes ago by email saying they need to make sure that their job is reclassified because they’re doing other people’s work.
“We need a GN that has the capacity to do job evaluations. Workers all the time turn to the union when it comes to making requests like that, because they don’t know where to go to in the workplace, and that’s really unfortunate. That’s up to the employer. We don’t know why there’s such a disconnect. We don’t know why they’re not open to communicating with their employees,” Rochon added.
WMC is currently in the first phase of this project, according to GN officials, during which time compensation and benefits are being reviewed. The RFP noted that that this phase should be completed within six months of the contract being awarded, which means it should wrap up by Nov. 5.
The entire project, meanwhile, is expected to be completed within 18 months, according to the RFP, which would mean a conclusion by Nov. 5, 2024.