After almost three years of negotiations, the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) has declared an impasse in the collective bargaining process with the Treasury Board Secretariat. Today, the Association has applied for arbitration in order to resolve the dispute.
The Employer’s latest offer showed little improvement over the offer it tabled in March 2017. Despite containing similar general economic increases, it fell short on the additional wage adjustments offered to the other bargaining agents during the same round of negotiations.
Wages, however, are not the only issue.
While the employer was prepared to offer PAFSO the same amendments to the general terms and conditions of employment offered to the other bargaining agents, it was not prepared to accept PAFSO’s proposals specific to the FS group.
These proposals include:
- a provision to protect FS work and to formally ensure that foreign service officers have priority for FS assignments abroad;
- a provision for information sharing, allowing PAFSO to have a record of all employees in FS positions as well as FS temporarily working outside the FS group;
- new provisions that would support foreign service officers affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and protect them from discrimination in the workplace associated with their condition;
- a provision for the payment of professional membership fees related to the foreign service profession
- a provision for a special pay adjustment for FS lawyers working in the legal bureau at Global Affairs Canada, and
- the introduction of a foreign language premium for foreign service officers assigned to missions where neither of Canada’s official languages is the predominant language, and officers are required to work in a foreign language.
PAFSO has requested a three-arbitrator tribunal. The Association is hopeful that an arbitration hearing on the merits of the outstanding issues submitted by both parties will take place in September, and expects an award to be issued shortly thereafter.