Canadian government has accepted offer of binding arbitration from striking Canadian diplomats.
Photo Credit: Charles Dharapak/AP

Canadian government agrees to diplomats’ offer of binding arbitration

Update July 26 – Talks to start binding arbitration fall apart, see details here

July 23 – The Canadian government has agreed to binding arbitration with its striking diplomats, according to a statement released by federal cabinet minister Tony Clement. He is the president of the Treasury Board and responsible for negotiations with the diplomats.

The statement, released Tuesday (July 23) says “The Government is willing to enter into arbitration, subject to certain conditions. These conditions are subject to negotiation confidence and cannot be shared publicly.”

Last Thursday, the President of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) Tim Edwards made the arbitration offer: “In light of the severe and mounting impacts of job action by Canada’s Foreign Service on our country’s tourism, education, air transport, and agriculture sectors – to say nothing of the effects which delays in visa and immigrant processing are inflicting on applicants and their families around the world – PAFSO has today offered the President of the Treasury Board to take our dispute to binding third-party arbitration.”

The offer was to expire at noon on Tuesday.

Reacting to Minister Clement’s acceptance of binding arbitration the union issued a statement which in part reads:

“Shortly before today’s noon deadline, PAFSO received a letter from the President of the Treasury Board responding to our offer of binding arbitration.

“As he has stated publicly, Minister Clement has agreed to PAFSO’s offer of binding arbitration subject to “certain conditions”. PAFSO is reviewing these conditions and will follow up directly with the Treasury Board. PAFSO will need to assure itself that any arbitration mechanism allows for a full and fair hearing of arguments on both sides – an objective we are sure the Government shares.

“PAFSO appreciates the Government’s attempt at finding a resolution to this dispute and remains hopeful that a responsible way forward can be agreed upon by both parties.”

The diplomats’ association wants parity with public servants in Canada who do similar work to theirs. It says the diplomats make thousands of dollars less than others in the public service. This even though, postings abroad bring all kinds of extra financial challenges that public servants in Ottawa do not have to face.

In June, the association stepped up pressure tactics, and used strategic strikes around the world. The issuing of visas has been particularly hit by the job action.

More information:
Statement by Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board: PAFSO Negotiations – here
PAFSO statement offering binding arbitration – here
RCI – More on the diplomats’ strike – here

UPDATE July 24, 2013: PAFSO released a statement, which in part reads:

“This morning, PAFSO sent a letter to the President of the Treasury Board. The correspondence addresses the conditions which the Government is seeking to attach to its acceptance of binding arbitration.

“While we would have preferred to initiate the arbitration process without preconditions, PAFSO is committed to finding a reasonable and responsible way forward which will allow for a full and fair hearing of arguments from both sides – an objective we are sure the Government shares.

“We await the Government’s response. Until the conditions for arbitration are resolved, there will be no change in PAFSO’s job action measures.”


Categories: International, Politics

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