Canada Border Services employees vote in favour of strike

Border service officers at airports, land ports, marine ports, and commercial ports, as well as inland enforcement officers, intelligence officers, investigators, trade officers, and non-uniformed headquarters staff, will be impacted by the strike.

Canada Border Services employees vote in favour of strike
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Over 9,000 members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) who work for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have voted for a strike, the union announced on Friday.

The strike could cause significant disruptions to the flow of goods, services, and people at Canadian ports of entry.

“Taking job action is always a last resort, but this strong strike mandate underscores that our members are prepared to do what it takes to secure a fair contract,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President, in a statement. “Unless they want a repeat of 2021, Treasury Board and CBSA must be prepared to come to the table with a fair offer that addresses our key issues.”

In 2021, a job action by CBSA workers concluded after a 36-hour bargaining session. The action had caused significant delays at airports and borders nationwide, nearly halting commercial cross-border traffic.

Border service officers at airports, land ports, marine ports, and commercial ports, as well as inland enforcement officers, intelligence officers, investigators, trade officers, and non-uniformed headquarters staff, will be impacted by the strike.

According to PSAC, workers have been without a contract for over two years. Members say that the Treasury Board and CBSA are unprepared to negotiate an agreement that protects workers and continue to demand concessions at the bargaining table.

The union says that fair wages are at the centre of this round of bargaining, as well as flexible telework and remote work options.

“Our members’ response to this vote has been unprecedented — we extended the voting period to meet the overwhelming demand from workers,” said Mark Weber, CIU National President, according to City News. “We’re sending a clear message to the employer: we’re prepared to fight for fair wages, equitable retirement and to make CBSA a better place to work.”

PSAC announced that mediation sessions are scheduled to start on June 3 to resolve the bargaining impasse.

“We’re committed to reaching a fair contract that protects workers and improves working conditions for our members,” said Aylward. “As summer travel season nears, we hope the Trudeau Liberal government is making these negotiations a top priority. The window to avert a strike is closing quickly.”

The federal government said in a statement that it is "fully committed" to reaching a fair and reasonable agreement for border agents.

“We recognize that labour action is a legitimate part of collective bargaining,” it said. “Employees have the right to strike, but at this time it is unnecessary. We are ready and willing to return to the bargaining table at any time.”

The government states that the CBSA has over 9,500 represented border services group employees, with 90 percent of them holding positions deemed essential, requiring them to continue providing services during a strike.

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