Border services workers table wage demands as bargaining continues

A union statement says it has “proposed aligning our wage grid with that of the RCMP.”

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The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union have presented their wage demands as bargaining with Canada Border Services Agency and Treasury Board continues.

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In a news release Tuesday, the union said PSAC-CIU met with the government on June 13-16 to continue talks aimed at reaching a new collective agreement.

“After conducting a comprehensive analysis of compensation and working conditions within the law enforcement community, we presented our wage demands,” the release said.

PSAC is proposing wages increases of 3.5 per cent, 3.0 per cent and 2.0 per cent for 2022, 2023 and 2024 on top of additional adjustments.

“We have proposed aligning our wage grid with that of the RCMP,” the release stated, adding that management had yet to respond to the wage proposals. “Additionally, we have proposed that all employees in the bargaining unit be granted a paid meal period, as is the standard practice across the law enforcement community.”

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The union is also looking to push back against technological changes, address workplace harassment and implement increases to various premiums and allowances, including the dog handler allowance. It is also looking to introduce a field coaching and plain-clothes allowance, paid firearm practice time, an escort removal premium, fitness allowances, paid membership fees for hearings officers and range fees for armed officers.

PSAC’s Border Services (FB) bargaining team is an occupational group of more than 8,600 CBSA employees who work in the inspection and control of people and goods entering Canada. Their collective agreement expired in June 2022.

The team, which postponed negotiations earlier this year to show support for peers during the public service strike, is expected back at the bargaining table in September, according to PSAC.

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PSAC said the team suggested several dates for negotiations during the summer, but the government refused to bargain in July and August due to their Summer Action Plan. The plan, which CIU said last year was created with the goal of mitigating seasonal operational pressures on border operations, was heavily rebuked by the union, which called it “an exercise in rushed and ill-conceived measures.”

“Why this should make it impossible for parties to meet is unclear, and we can only assume the employer is under the belief that our 10 bargaining team members’ presence on the front line is key in resolving CBSA’s inadequate staffing levels,” PSAC said in the release. “In any case, it is shameful to see the Treasury Board once again needlessly delay the bargaining process.”

PSAC said the FB bargaining team planned to visit worksites across Canada throughout the summer to gather input from members and to provide face-to-face updates on bargaining.

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