Border guards picket outside of CBSA offices over contract

About 50 border guards and support staff picketed outside the Canadian Border Services Agency office on Ouellete Ave. Thursday afternoon.

Canadian Border Services Agency workers, 2 years without contract, ask Treasury Board for "fair" deal

Border guards protest outside of CBSA officers on Ouellette Ave. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC News)

About 50 border guards and support staff picketed outside the Canadian Border Services Agency office on Ouellette Ave. Thursday afternoon.

CBSA guards, represented by the Customs and Immigration Union, have been without a contract since June 2011.

Mike Fummerton, first vice president of  Local 18, told CBC News the protest isn't about wages.

He said the Day of Action was an effort to get the Treasury Board to negotiate a "fair" contract.

"Job security is probably the biggest factor, more so than economic increases," he said. "With the downsizing of the public service, it just makes us more vulnerable to be terminated if we're not successful upon completion of a training program."

Fummerton said border guards have to pass an annual firearms test and certification.  Those who don't pass currently get assistance and one-on-one help with a training officer.  He claims that the government is changing that, and guards who don't pass can be let go.

In a written statement, a Treasury Board spokesperson wrote, "The Government has put forward a reasonable offer that is fair to employees and fair to Canadian taxpayers. We will continue to bargain in good faith while respecting the confidentiality and legal obligations of the process."

Fummerton says this affects more than 500 border guards.

"It's about our security. It's about protection of our jobs so we can protect the Canadian people and the Canadian economy," he said.

Talks with the Treasury Board started again two days ago, but broke off at 5 a.m. this morning.

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