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Canada diplomat strike disrupts visa operations

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A Chinese security guard mans the front office to the compound of the Canadian embassy in Beijing on June 10, 2002. Striking foreign service officers disrupted visa operations at Canadian embassies and consulates in cities around the world Monday after contract negotiations with the government broke down, their association said. (AFP/File)

Striking foreign service officers disrupted visa operations at Canadian embassies and consulates in cities around the world Monday after contract negotiations with the government broke down, their association said.

The foreign service officers have been on strike for four months, but this was the most extensive disruption yet of visa services.

The action involves Canada's biggest visa processing centers at 15 embassies and consulates around the world.

They include centers in Paris, London, Moscow, Mexico City, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Ankara, Beijing, Delhi, Chandigarh, India, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Manila and Sao Paulo.

The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, which represents the strikers, said it decided on the action after government negotiators rejected binding arbitration.

It said the move was "to persuade the government that binding arbitration remains the responsible way forward to resolve our dispute."

The agents are seeking salary parity with other federal government employees.

"We take no pleasure whatsoever in these strike actions and their real, severe, and mounting effects on the Canadian economy," the association, which represents 16,000 active and retired foreign service officers, said.

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