PSAC-CIU has given official strike notice to the government, which means effective Friday, August 6 at 6:00 a.m. (EDT), all FB members will begin work-to-rule action across the country.
This is our opportunity to cause significant disruptions to CBSA operations and force the government to come back to the table to address the toxic workplace culture at CBSA and provide parity with other law enforcement personnel across Canada.
Once the employer was served strike notice, they asked to return to the table August 4, which we agreed to, but it’s clear Treasury Board and CBSA still have no new mandate to address our core workplace issues, and we need to continue planning for strike action beginning Friday.
During a work-to-rule, we’re asking you to obey all of the policies, procedures and laws applying to your work, and to perform your duties to “the letter of the law.” Don’t work during your breaks or unpaid lunches. Don’t work past your scheduled work hours. Ask every question in your manual at ports of entry. This may cause long and unavoidable delays at Canada’s borders, but we know you take pride in your work and will rely on your discretion to not cut any corners while performing your duties.
We’ll send a clear and decisive message to the government: we’re prepared to do what’s necessary to make CBSA a better and safer place to work.
Beginning August 6, there won’t be picket lines organized at worksites. That’s because work-to-rule action will have a far greater impact on Canada’s critical supply chain and the federal government’s plans to reopen the border to U.S. travelers on August 9.
There’s no doubt our job action will result in slower processing and longer wait times. While unfortunate for travelers and commercial shipping, the blame rests squarely with Treasury Board, CBSA and the government for their inaction, disrespect and chronic understaffing. Taking strike action is always a last resort, but PSAC-CIU have exhausted all other avenues to reach a fair contract, and the government has forced us to take job action.
Work-to-rule action should never jeopardize the safety of Canadians or the security of our borders. All duties relating to the safety and security of Canada are essential and, in fact, should be done with greater diligence and in line with all enforcement manuals and legislation.
To be clear, we are asking you to do your job as you were trained to do it, in accordance with your collective agreement, policies, procedures, SOPs and laws, while adhering to all health and safety protocols. This applies to all FB members, including non-uniformed members.
This is just the first step in our strike activities. Other types of strikes, including a general strike, rotating strikes and strategic strikes, are all options under consideration for the next phases as we ramp up our strike action. Only then will essential and non-essential designations come into play.
During a work-to-rule, you will not receive strike pay because all FB members will remain at work for their regularly scheduled shifts and in your typical roles. Therefore for this first stage, there will be no loss of salary.
Our FB bargaining team has put together a comprehensive list of work-to-rule actions you can take in the workplace. Consult the list carefully and reach out to your PSAC Regional Office or your CIU Branch President at any time during this process with your questions and concerns.
This article has also been posted on the PSAC website.