The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) is pleased to announce that on Monday, 5 March, a tentative agreement was reached with the Treasury Board Secretariat.
Prior to the commencement of the arbitration hearing, the board encouraged both parties to reduce the number of issues standing between them, most notably a series of proposals for which a willingness to agree had already been expressed. This led to a discussion of the outstanding issues, including wages, and with the help of the Arbitration Board, the parties were able to come to a tentative agreement, thereby ending three years of protracted negotiations.
This tentative agreement, should it be ratified, will eradicate many of our pay inequity issues. We were able to achieve a 1.25% annual increase for 2014 to 2017. We also have agreed to a 2% increase for the maximum rate of pay for FS-2, FS-3 and FS-4 effective July 1, 2016. As well, we have agreed to drop step 1 of the FS-1 rate of pay and to add a 4% step at FS-1.
Beyond addressing several of our issues related to wage increases and pay inequities, this tentative agreement offers several other significant improvements over our previous collective agreement. Among these are:
- An expansion of the definition of family for bereavement leave, leave without pay for the care of immediate family and leave with pay for family-related responsibilities;
- Added flexibility to leave with pay for family-related responsibilities that allows for appointments, school functions, school closures, etc.;
- Improvements to bereavement leave with pay, allowing it to be split into two parts;
- The merging of volunteer leave and personal leave with pay to give employees two days which can be split into four parts.; and
- The inclusion of gender identity and expression to the No Discrimination clause.
This tentative agreement expires on June 30, 2018. The Employer has been given 120 days in order to implement it.
On Thursday, 8 March, the Executive Committee met and voted to recommend that the membership accept the terms of the tentative agreement.
Preparations for an electronic ratification vote are now taking place with the aim of holding the vote from Monday March 19 through Friday April 6, 2018.
More details will follow as developments warrant.