Tentative agreement reached between foreign service workers and government

Longest strike in the history of public service comes to an end
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 09/27/2013

After six months — the longest strike in public service history — Canada’s diplomats have reached a tentative agreement with the federal government.

The agreement was signed on Sept. 26 following a week of secretive talks. All strike and work-to-rule action both in Canada and abroad was stopped by the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) following the compromise.

“PAFSO is satisfied with this deal,” said Tim Edwards, union president. “This agreement was reached through compromises on both sides. We salute the spirit of constructive engagement which our employer brought to our latest discussions. This deal is a victory for free and fair bargaining in the federal public service.”

The agreement — which both PAFSO’s executive committee and the Treasury Board president Tony Clement have agreed to recommend — requires ratification by PAFSO’s membership and approval by the full Treasury Board.

“This tentative agreement reflects the government’s commitment to reaching fiscally responsible settlements that are fair to Canadian taxpayers and to employees,” Clement said. “The settlement represents the efforts of both parties to reach an agreement that is aligned with what was accepted by other public-and-private-sector employees.”

The 1,350 foreign service officers represented by PAFSO have been without a contract since July 1, 2011, and in a legal strike position since April 2, 2013. The union, representing officers working for Canada’s Border Services Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, had only been on strike once before, in 2002.

“We are pleased that the government has recognized the tremendous value and dedication which foreign service officers provide to Canadians and their elected representatives,” Edwards said. “It has been a hard-fought battle and I would like to salute the unity, resolve and stamina of our members in securing a fair and equitable deal. We’re excited to get back to doing the work we love, promoting and protecting Canada’s values and interests abroad.”

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