OTTAWA, June 6, 2013 /CNW/ - The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO), representing Canada's 1,350 non-executive diplomats, staged a mass walk out in Ottawa today and at posts around the world, protesting the Government of Canada's unwillingness to engage meaningfully at the negotiating table.
As part of a coordinated escalation of service withdrawals, over 400 Foreign Service officers based at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade headquarters in the National Capital Region left their positions this afternoon, joining members at twelve other missions worldwide who had walked out earlier in the day.
"After nearly two years of negotiations and a four-month hiatus in talks, the Government returned to the table with the same position they presented back in the fall of 2011," says Tim Edwards, PAFSO President.
"The Government's unwillingness to compromise is an affront to the principles of free and fair bargaining, and to the tremendous value and dedication Foreign Service Officers offer to Canadians and their elected representatives."
The primary issue at hand remains PAFSO's request for equal pay for equal work. Specifically, the union is seeking wage adjustments to keep Foreign Service Officer pay in line with comparable employment groups in the federal government.
"We've made concessions to address their concerns in the current economic climate. But they still seem intent on punishing some of our less senior diplomats, who earn up to $14,000 less than those doing the same work in Ottawa," says Edwards.
At several posts around the world, Canada's political, trade and immigration officers will not be reporting to work until further notice. This includes some of Canada's largest and most important embassies and high commissions overseas. Affected Canadian offices abroad include: London, Paris, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Dublin, Hong Kong, and Canada's delegation to the European Union.
All Foreign Service immigration officers in Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi and Chandigarh have also walked off the job, which will severely reduce the pace and volume of visa and immigration processing for applicants from China and India.
SOURCE: Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO)
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