Border services bargaining group postpones contract negotiations in solidarity with striking public servants
The bargaining group representing workers at Canada’s borders says it’s postponing its negotiations with the federal government, scheduled for later this week, in order to show support for public servants who are on strike across the country.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada’s (PSAC) FB bargaining team is an occupational group made up of more than 8,600 employees of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) who work in the inspection and control of people and goods entering Canada. Their collective agreement expired in June 2022 and they were set to return to the table for negotiations from April 25 to April 27.
PSAC members in the border services bargaining unit are not taking part in the ongoing strike of more than 155,000 other PSAC members working under the banners of the Treasury Board and the Canada Revenue Agency. Unlike the other bargaining units, the border services group has not declared an impasse in its negotiations.
The current strike was launched last Wednesday. Since then, parties have been engaged in negotiations to discuss issues such as wages and telework.
“It’s clear that the ongoing generational labour actions by PSAC members will lay the foundation for future gains for all Canadian workers, including FB members,” said the border services team in a news release issued Sunday.
“We do not sit at a table with an employer who treats our fellow members with the disrespect that Treasury Board has displayed. We will only meet with the employer once they give striking members the fair contract they deserve.”
Over the past months, bargaining issues of their own that the border services team has raised with the government include amendments to workers’ pension plans, paid firearm practice time, paid time for members to tool-up and tool-down at the beginning and end of each shift, telework, and job protections in relation to new technologies, contract workers and student use.
But, as for potential border impacts of the ongoing strike, PSAC states that more than 2,500 Customs and Immigration Union members are a part of the Program and Administrative Services group bargaining with the Treasury Board who are now on strike. Those members perform administrative and other non-law-enforcement duties and support frontline border operations across the country.
“These members play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of border processes, and they need the support of all PSAC-CIU members,” the release from the border services group indicated. “Now more than ever, there is power in solidarity.”
The release stated that while workers who don’t have a strike mandate can’t walk off the job or refuse to perform usual duties, they can support colleagues by volunteering during off-work hours, wearing union swag at work, and engaging in mobilization efforts so long as they don’t impact their work.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
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