Back to work for Canada Post employees

Canada Post

Canada Post

Senators voted Monday in favour of the Liberal government's legislation to force Canada Post employees back to work - a move that was quickly given royal assent.

It rushed the bill through the House of Commons last week.

Postal workers occupied Postal Depot 5, as well as all others in London, Ont., including the Highbury Avenue plant, in protest of back-to-work legislation proposed by the federal government.

Workers are asking for better pay for rural and suburban carriers, as well as greater job security and minimum guaranteed hours.

CUPW also wants Canada Post to adopt rules that it says would cut down on workplace injuries - an issue the union has said is now at a "crisis" level.

Combined with the costs associated with the rotating walkouts that began October 22 and came to a forced end on Tuesday, Canada Post said it expected to end 2018 with a loss, and that pay equity would result in ongoing annual costs of about $140 million.

One Canada Post spokesperson told media that "The postal service remains operational, but the prolonged and ongoing strike activity has not only caused significant backlogs, it continues to greatly reduce our ability to process and deliver mail and parcels across the country".

Picket lines were up Sunday at Canada Post facilities in northern Ontario, as well as in parts of British Columbia. But the local union, which was threatening to walk off the job on Monday night into Tuesday morning, says the legislation puts mail carriers in a tough position in receiving a new deal.

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Canada Post said Monday that the backlog of mail and parcels is "severe" and expected to "worsen significantly" once online orders from Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are processed.

"We are, of course, very preoccupied with the fact that Christmas is coming, important shopping days are coming and we need to see a resolution to that", Trudeau said last week.

Dodsworth said the tone of negotiations changed when the government hinted two weeks ago that it would consider back-to-work legislation.

But the Liberal government argues its bill is different, in that it does not impose immediate outcomes affecting postal contracts.

The law gives the union and Canada Post a chance to find a mutually acceptable mediator, who will also arbitrate an agreement if the sides can't reach an agreement within at least 90 days.

But another independent, Sen.

"All options remain on the table to achieve negotiated collective agreements that address health and safety, inequitable treatment, fair wages and working conditions, and the democratic right to free collective bargaining", it said. "And it still might be too late", Conservative Sen.

"Because the right to strike is a fundamental right ..."

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