Federal government agrees to binding arbitration in foreign service job dispute
Foreign service workers march off the job at the Lester B. Pearson, headquarters to the department of Foreign Affairs Ministry in Ottawa, Thursday June 6, 2013. (Fred Chartrand / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, July 23, 2013 4:34PM EDT
OTTAWA -- The federal government says it is willing to settle its dispute with Canada's striking foreign-service workers through binding arbitration -- subject to certain conditions.
Treasury Board President Tony Clement says the conditions are confidential and cannot be shared publicly.
The union representing the workers asked Clement last Thursday for binding arbitration, giving him a deadline of noon Tuesday.
The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers' 1,350 members have been in a legal strike position since April, and have been staging rotating job actions in Ottawa and at foreign missions.
The union wants wage parity with counterparts in other federal departments who make as much as $14,000 more for doing similar work.
Clement says the jobs of foreign-service officers are substantively different from public-service lawyers, economists or commerce officers.
The union said in a statement that it was reviewing the government's conditions and would reply directly to Treasury Board.
Union officials added that until an agreement is reached, the job actions will continue.