The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) deeply regrets the Government of Canada’s decision to file an appeal today with the Federal Court and challenge a ruling that it negotiated in bad faith with its own employees. PAFSO again urges the Treasury Board to alter its unconstructive approach and return to the negotiating table as soon as possible.
“The Government’s actions today bring us no closer to a settlement,” said Tim Edwards, PAFSO president. “This appeal unnecessarily prolongs what is already one of the longest strikes in federal public service history, at great cost to the Canadian economy and Canada’s reputation as a destination for tourism, study, and employment – to say nothing of tens of thousands of visa applicants and prospective immigrants whose lives are being put on hold.”
In a ruling released on Friday, the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB) found that Treasury Board president Tony Clement violated his duty to bargain in good faith when, in response to PAFSO’s proposal of binding arbitration, he sought to impose preconditions on the arbitration process which he knew PAFSO could not reasonably accept as they would have predetermined the outcome in the Government’s favour.
“In her ruling, the adjudicator provided a clear roadmap for both sides to put an end to this damaging dispute: resume negotiations or enter into unfettered binding arbitration,” continued Mr. Edwards. “We believe that the Government should do the responsible thing and heed her advice. Enough time has been wasted already.”
In recent weeks, Treasury Board has reached settlements with two other public service unions by offering them wage hikes which equal or exceed those requested by PAFSO. These two settlements are proof positive that the Government is more than capable of addressing long-standing wage gaps of up to $14,000 between diplomats and other government professionals.
“We look forward to receiving the same treatment which has been accorded to other unions at the negotiating table. Alternatively, our offer to take this dispute to binding arbitration without paralyzing preconditions still stands,” concluded Mr. Edwards.
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