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UPDATED: CBSA job action on hold as mediation continues

By Brad Perry Jun 7, 2024 | 5:18 PM

Job action by thousands of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) workers has been put on hold as mediation continues.

More than 9,000 workers represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada were in a legal strike position as of Friday.

The union earlier this week that job action would begin late Friday afternoon unless an agreement was reached.

But when that deadline arrived, union officials announced that mediation would be continuing until Wednesday,

“Picket lines will not be in place until further notice,” said the statement.

CBSA workers had voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action, but what that action would look like is unknown as 90 per cent of front-line officers are considered essential.

However, experts have said that unionized workers could use work-to-rule, which has the potential to cause significant delays.

Job action by CBSA personnel in 2021 caused major delays at airports and borders across the country.

“We still hope to avoid strike action and potential disruptions for travellers and commercial traffic at Canada’s borders,” Sharon DeSousa, PSAC national president, said in a statement Thursday.

“But we’ve set a deadline for Trudeau’s Liberal government to get to work on a fair contract for workers.”

One of the main issues this time around is wages that are aligned with other Canadian law enforcement agencies.

The union is also pushing for flexible telework and remote work options, equitable retirement benefits, and stronger protections around discipline, technological change and hours of work.

Meanwhile, the federal government has said it remains “ready and willing” to negotiate and reach a fair agreement.

“Negotiation is a process of give and take. The government is prepared to make concessions, but there needs to be movement on both sides,” the Treasury Board of Canada said in a news release earlier this week.