Canada border service workers end work-to-rule strike

August 9, 2021

Land Line Staff

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Canadian border service workers have ended their “work-to-rule” strike after reaching a tentative agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency late on Friday, Aug. 6, according to a news release from the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

“We are relieved that CBSA and the government finally stepped up to address the most important issues for our members to avoid a prolonged labor dispute,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. The agreement is a testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of our bargaining team who worked through the night to reach a deal.”

Aylward said the agreement couldn’t have come together without the support of PSAC members, who “put intense pressure on the government at every airport and border crossing across the country” on Friday.

The agreement brought an immediate end to the work-to-rule strike action that started Friday morning. It ensures the flow of border traffic will return to normal as Canada prepares to welcome fully vaccinated U.S. travellers on Monday, Aug. 9.

During the strike, long lines and delays were reported at Canada’s border crossings.

Negotiations between the union – which represents about 9,000 employees – and CBSA began in January 2019 but reached an impasse in December 2020. In May 2021, the union presented arguments at Public Interest Commission hearings and a report was issued in July with nonbinding recommendations.

Highlights of the tentative agreement:

  • A four-year agreement from 2018-22 with an average annual increase of over 2% per year.
  • Better protection against excessive discipline in the workplace.
  • The creation of a National Joint Committee to tackle workplace culture problems at CBSA.
  • A paid meal allowance for uniformed members, similar to what most Canadian law enforcement agencies provide.
  • A commitment letter to advance the work toward the introduction of early retirement benefits for CBSA employees.
  • A better grievance-handling process.
  • Domestic violence leave.
  • Other leave and allowance improvements. LL
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