PAFSO Strike Action

July 23, 2013 Here is an update on strike action by the members of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO). If you have any questions concerning the impact of this strike on your work, do not hesitate to contact your labour relations officer at CAPE’s national office.
Continued job action by Foreign Service officers and implications for EC group members
We thought it was important to provide an update on recent developments regarding job action by members of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO).
Recent developments
As you may know, PAFSO job action has now entered its fourth month.
Since June 6, PAFSO has escalated its service withdrawals to encompass hundreds of employees in dozens of work locations in Canada and abroad. This follows a collapse of talks on June 5 during which the employer decided not to revise its pay offer, again presenting the same offer to PAFSO that had been on the table since negotiations began 20 months earlier. PAFSO was advised that this decision has been made at the highest political level.
As a result, PAFSO's job action strategy is now aimed at disrupting all Cabinet-level international priorities and travel (including that of the Prime Minister) as well as visa and immigration processing at Canada's major processing centres abroad. As of early July, the effects of this strike on Government business and the Canadian economy are increasingly severe and mounting. We understand that barring meaningful engagement by the Government at the negotiating table, it is PAFSO's intention to continue to exert maximum pressure throughout the summer and into the fall if necessary.
The Employer: Creating Confusion
It has been difficult for our members at DFAIT and now DFATD to understand how they can support their PAFSO colleagues. The employer has refused to provide CAPE with a current and updated list of EC bargaining unit members in the department. The clear line that normally exists between employees who are members of CAPE and employees who are members of PAFSO has been smudged. Striking PAFSO members have invited employees to join their strike action believing at times that they are PAFSO members when that has yet to be confirmed.
This lack of clarity has led to some friction and resentment on both sides, not for lack of solidarity but for lack of clarity which is entirely the employer’s making. CAPE has filed an application to the Public Service Labour Relations Board on April 12, 2013. And CAPE has repeatedly asked the department to sit down and talk on this matter and other urgent matters. Yet, even today the employer refuses to cooperate. It is difficult to understand what positive outcome could come from this lack of collaboration.
In spite of the employer’s action or lack of, we ask that all CAPE members show support for their PAFSO colleagues by writing to their Member of Parliament and by asking that that pressure be placed on the employer to sit down and engage in real negotiations.
All EC members at DFATD: We ask all CAPE members to continue to show support for PAFSO members who are on strike and to respect the lawful job action process by not attempting to perform any of the duties of striking FS employees. If directed by your supervisor to do so, you should refer them to your department's own Guide for Strike Preparation, which states clearly that "Employees in other bargaining units should not be asked to perform duties of employees on strike." If your supervisor persists, please contact your CAPE labour relations officer for guidance.
In closing, we wish to thank all members for their continuing support and solidarity for our Foreign Service colleagues. Please contact your labour relations officer should you have any questions concerning these or other implications of PAFSO job action for you and your work.