PAFSO Urges Treasury Board to Return to Negotiating Table in Wake of Bad-Faith Ruling

In the wake of today’s ruling by the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB) that the Government of Canada violated its duty to bargain in good faith in its dealings with the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, PAFSO is urging the Treasury Board to alter course and return to the negotiating table to settle this dispute.

“Canadians expect the federal government to bargain respectfully and in good faith with its own employees,” said Tim Edwards, PAFSO president. “Today’s decision shows it is time for the Prime Minister and the Government to do the responsible thing and reach a negotiated settlement which would put an end to this damaging strike.”

In her ruling, the PSLRB adjudicator found that Treasury Board president Tony Clement engaged in bad faith bargaining 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.

“The severe and mounting impacts this strike on the Canadian economy could have been avoided if the Government had acted in good faith and engaged in free and fair bargaining from the start,” continued Mr. Edwards. “This is now one of the longest strikes in public service history, and with the potential damage approaching $1 billion, we think Canada has suffered more than enough already. The time has come for the Government to change tack.”

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 latest 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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