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Canadian border guards set to strike

Unions announced that the strike is planned to take place just days before fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the US will be allowed into the country

CANADIAN border guards are set to strike just days before fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the US will be allowed into the country, unions announced on Tuesday.

Some 8,500 members voted in favour of the action in a contract dispute after talks stalled in December, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) said in a joint statement.

Action could start on August 6, the unions said. Restrictions at Canada’s border with the US, which has been closed for 16 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, are set to be relaxed on August 9.

Canadian Federation of Independent Business senior vice-president Corinne Pohlmann said the timing of the industrial action was “extremely disappointing.”

But CIU president Mark Weber said the ballot for strike action took place “before we even knew what day the borders would be opening on.”

He hoped to be able to reach agreement with the federal government to avert the strike. 

The union’s demands include higher pay, the ability to carry guns in areas like airports and to address issues of “toxic” workplaces, he said.

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