About 9,000 Canadians Frontier Service agency employees prepare to start work action across the country on Friday and say travelers should expect long lines and long delays at frontier level crossings and airports.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada and its Customs and Immigration Union, which represent the workers, said it served strike notice on the government on Tuesday and is now preparing its workers to mount the job. closed off.
If a contract is not reached at 6 a.m. on Friday, the union said its members would begin a series of “large-scale” actions at Canadian airports, the earth frontiers, commercial ports, postal facilities and head offices.
“We really hoped that we didn’t have to go on strike, but we exhausted all other avenues to achieve a fair contract with the government,” Chris Aylward, national president of the union, said in a statement.
“The Treasury Board and the CBSA have made it clear that they are not prepared to address critical workplace issues at the CBSA at the bargaining table.
The Treasury Board of Canada said the federal government asked the federal labor relations body on Tuesday to appoint a mediator. He said he has confirmed that one will be named.
“The Government of Canada has great respect for frontier agents and the important work they do and remains committed to reaching agreements with all bargaining agents that are fair to employees, aware of today’s economic and fiscal environment and reasonable to Canadian taxpayers, ”states a press release from the Treasury Board of Canada
“The Government of Canada has reached agreements covering 95 percent of the federal unionized workforce for this round of bargaining and is confident that an offer has been made that provides a reasonable basis on which to reach a settlement.
Ninety percent of the front line frontier workers have been identified as essential, so they will continue to provide services, if there is a strike, the CBSA said in an email.
The CBSA “will react quickly to any work intervention / disruption in order to maintain the safety and security of our frontier, ensure compliance with our laws and maintain frontier open to legitimate travelers and goods, ”said spokesperson Jacqueline Callin.
The dispute comes as Canada prepares to allow fully vaccinated Americans to visit without having to quarantine starting August 9 and will open the frontiers to travelers from other countries with the required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine on September 7.
PSAC-SDI represents 5,500 frontier service officers, 2,000 headquarters staff and other workers at Canada Post facilities and in inland law enforcement jobs employed by the CBSA and the Council Secretariat of Treasure.
Union members have been without contracts for about three years because they and their employers have been unable to agree on better protections for staff which the union says would bring them in line with other staff members. responsible for law enforcement across Canada and would tackle a “toxic” workplace culture.
Union members voted last month to strike as early as Friday if the two sides failed to come to an agreement, prompting their employers to agree to return to the bargaining table.
The union said a public interest commission formed when the two sides failed to reach consensus set out a series of measures in late July that both sides should explore in the future.
These measures, said PSAC-CIU, include initiating discussions on a pensionable meal period for union members, paid gun practice time, a fitness allowance for union members, agents and new protections for disciplined employees.
The union also said the report encouraged parties to negotiate extended seniority rights for hours, parameters regarding student work, language ensuring that officers are not forced to work alone and a streamlining of procedures for resettlement. grievance resolution.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 4, 2021.