The FB bargaining team continued to push for greater protections against harassment and abuse of authority by management during negotiations with Treasury Board/Canada Border Services Agency March 9-12.
Yet despite buzzwords like promoting inclusion, respectfulness and the elimination of harassment in CBSA’s 2020-2021 Department Plan – unveiled this week – there was little evidence of a tonal shift on these or other issues at the bargaining table.
Our team made proposals to enhance protections against abuse of authority and harassment, but management still hasn’t agreed to any of these changes. CBSA is taking the position that language in our contract should continue to be limited largely to sexual harassment. We can’t accept this, as we believe our collective agreement should address all forms of harassment, not just sexual harassment.
We also spoke to our proposed expansion of protections against CBSA management’s heavy-handedness in dealing with our members – including discipline and the arbitrary removal of defensive equipment. There will need to be new protections on these issues in our collective agreement.
There can be no ‘culture change’ without real action
The departmental plan also refers to a long-term reduction in CBSA staff. Our members are already short-staffed and spread thin; PSAC-CIU are prepared to fight any move to reduce staff.
Lastly, the plan speaks of ‘leveraging technology to enable flexibility’, yet CBSA refuses to reinstate fair and reasonable telework practices for Trade Compliance Officers and other non-uniformed personnel.
With respect to wages, our review of recent law enforcement wage settlements across Canada is ongoing – including our monitoring of contract talks for a first collective agreement for RCMP officers. Our position has always been that FB 3s should be matched to RCMP 1st class constables. In past rounds of bargaining, we’ve always reached agreements with full retroactive wage increases for our members. We have no intention of doing otherwise this round.
We’ll be returning to the table in early May and are in discussions for additional dates into the summer.
We’ll provide updates as bargaining continues. To review the package of proposals that we’ve tabled, and those of the employer, click here.
The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.