The Foreign Service Journal - June 2014 - page 13

JUNE 2014
s its subtitle “Read
The Diplomat
, Know the Asia-
Pacific” suggests,
The Diplomat
specializes in cover-
age of developments and trends in the Asia and Pacific
region. Based in Tokyo, the online magazine gives excellent
insight on domestic and foreign policies of key regional
players from an Asian perspective.
The Diplomat
also hosts an active and lively Facebook
page, “The Diplomat Magazine,” that shares non-main-
stream coverage of the region and has some 256,000 likes.
It also offers a weekly newsletter, “The Diplomatic Brief.”
From Australia to Japan, India and Iran,
The Diplomat
has access to in-country writers reporting from more than
20 nations in the Asia-Pacific, offering local perspectives
and valuable insights on politics, international relations,
defense, economics, business and culture. It also draws on
a team of award-winning analysts and writers based across
the globe.
The publication has partnerships with a range of
public policy and
media organiza-
tions, including
the global news
aggregator Real-
ClearWorld, the
News Network,
the U.K.’s Foreign Policy Center, India’s Institute
for Defence Studies and Analysis, Danwei, China Hush, Aus-
tralia’s Lowy Institute, the U.S. East-West Center in Hawaii
and others.
The site is fantastically easy to navigate, with headline
stories covering a slew of relevant topics across five major
regions of Eastern Asia, as well as topical sections. To cover
this fast-growing region,
The Diplomat
makes creative use
of interviews, podcasts and videos.
—Susan B. Maitra, Managing Editor
cent. In exchange, we asked the employer
to address our longstanding wage gaps,
which we saw as unfair, demoralizing and
a serious threat to retention.
We were told on the spot there was no
reason to offer Foreign Service officers
one cent more than what had been tabled
the first day of negotiations 18 months
earlier. At that point, it was clear to us
that only a strike mandate could give us
the leverage we needed to have our griev-
ances addressed.
What prompted the call for bind-
ing arbitration in July 2013, a key turning
point in the strike?
By mid-July, we had been con-
ducting targeted withdrawals of service
for about eight weeks, including at some
of Canada’s largest
visa-processing centers
abroad. Media reports
were suggesting that
the economic impact of
these walkouts on the
tourism and education
sectors, as well as on
industries which rely on
temporary foreign work-
ers, was significant and
would grow in severity if
the strike persisted.
To prevent further
damage to the economy, PAFSO formally
proposed to Treasury Board President
Tony Clement that we take our dispute to
binding arbitration (which would allow us
to immediately suspend strike measures).
We stressed that if he was so confident his
longstanding pay offer was “fair and rea-
sonable,” he would not hesitate to submit
it to third-party scrutiny.
Can the damage to relations
between the government and its diplomats
soon be healed?
To the extent that salary is a barom-
eter of the value and respect accorded a
profession, this strike’s outcome—notably
the elimination of wage gaps at the FS-2
and FS-4 1evels—suggests that the govern-
ment ultimately recognized (if grudgingly)
the excellent return on investment it gets
for every Foreign Service officer.
Now that we are back at work, mem-
bers are doing everything in their power
to ensure a swift recovery andminimize
Canadian FS members picket in front of Prime Minister
Stephen Harper’s office in Ottawa in 2013.
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