The federal agency that oversees public sector labour relations has moved to end a bargaining logjam with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The Agriculture Union’s bargaining agent, The Public Service Alliance of Canada, had called in August for the establishment of a Public Interest Commission after employer stalling had ground negotiations to a virtual halt. CFIA management opposed the creation of a PIC, claiming there had been too few negotiation sessions.

Last month, Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board rejected the employer’s arguments. A three-person PIC is now being set up, comprised of a neutral chair and one nominee from each of the bargaining parties.

Once established, the PIC will hear formal presentations from the union and employer sides outlining their respective positions on outstanding issues. The PIC will then issue a report. While non-binding, the report’s recommendations usually form the basis of a renewed round of face-to-face bargaining sessions.

The fact that the negotiations process is moving ahead is welcome news for the Agriculture Union and our CFIA members. We will continue to press the employer for a fair contract that addresses our members’ concerns.