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I work a government job - I'm a teaching assistant at a local college, and this isn't a private college, it's a public institution, my salary is paid by the government, the department of education.

Because of this, on paper all contracts should be uniform. There is no negotiation here like there is in the private sector. The government has tables that show how much they are supposed to pay you, and that's what you will get. Take it or leave it. Certainly no one negotiated with me or most of my colleagues.

However, today it has come to my attention that this is not the case. I have many coworkers who do the same job as me, have the same "rank" as me in the government tables, but earn twice as much or more.

After talking to a few of these privileged coworkers, I understood that some of them got these benefits through plain nepotism (For instance, one of them happens to be a thesis student of the head of department...) while others made an ultimatum ("Increase my pay or I leave").

I'm honestly quite upset with this situation and I'm not sure I can continue working in good spirits while I sit with people who earn twice as much as me for the same job (again, in the public sector), it makes me feel unappreciated, and honestly like a sucker.

Is there anything I can do to handle this situation or better my position? Should I speak to my board or head of department? Or just suck it up.

  • Are you in a union or professional association? – DJClayworth Jan 17 at 18:41
  • I am represented by a union, yes. – Oria Gruber Jan 17 at 18:42
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    Then talk to them. This is exactly the sort of thing they are there for. – DJClayworth Jan 17 at 18:43
  • What do I say? "People are earning more than me"? I don't want to be the whistleblower who takes down the privileged people, who are mostly friends I'm on good terms with. – Oria Gruber Jan 17 at 18:47
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    By "rank" in the government tables, are you saying they should have the exact same pay, or is this a pay grade only? When I was in government, there were the pay grades that specified range, and step increases based on time in job. If they've been there longer than you, they might legitimately be paid more. – David Thornley Jan 17 at 21:36
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You should talk to your Union rep, stating that in your opinion your salary doesn't reflect your educational level / experience / industry standard etc

This will open a salary discussion where you can get the info without revealing your prior knowledge about other people salary but you will get your answers

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