07/18/2013 13:46 EDT | Updated 09/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Striking foreign service workers to announce 'next step'

The union representing striking foreign service workers is having a press conference in Ottawa today to announce its "next step" in its dispute with the federal government over contract negotiations.

The two sides have been deadlocked for weeks and concerns and complaints are growing from some groups who are worried about the impact the strike is having on the granting of visas to tourists and international students.

Treasury Board Tony Clement, the minister responsible for the contract negotiations, said Tuesday that the foreign service officers should get back to work because he's not about to fold "like a $3 suitcase" in the ongoing stalemate between the two sides.

The head of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, Tim Edwards, said the union is prepared to extend the strike into the fall if necessary.

The union's 1,350 members have been in a legal strike position since April, and have stepped up job action at their Ottawa headquarters and about a dozen foreign missions, including Washington and Hong Kong. The actions are causing a slowdown in visa processing abroad.