Senate passes legislation to end Canada Post strike

30 November, 2018, 06:13 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Canada Post

The bill received royal assent on Monday with senators approving Bill C-89 by a vote of 53-25, with four abstentions.

The bill was then fast-tracked through the House of Commons and could be enacted as early as today.

Service was to resume at noon on Tuesday eastern time, but members of the Canadian Union Of Postal Workers Local 738 hit the picket lines for three hours from 6 to 9 a.m. Tuesday morning as a show of solidarity, calling the legislation a violation of their right to collective bargaining.

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.

The union predicts that, collectively, carriers will suffer more than 300 disabling injuries between now and the holidays, and says rural and suburban mail carriers typically work 250,000 hours without pay over the same period.

Canada Post and CUPW said they were negotiating Sunday, hoping to reach an agreement ahead of the bill's passage.

Throughout the strike, CUPW has asked Canada Post for concrete plans to reduce the injuries among postal workers forced to handle a higher volume of parcels created by the increased popularity of online shopping.

Canada Post says its focus is now on dealing with the mail and parcel backlog while the union says it's planning a demonstration of some sort in the coming days proving this labour dispute is far from over.

Canada Post says once it receives mail or parcels, they'll be processed and delivered on a first-in first-out basis.

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An arbitrator that has been appointed by the government will now have 90 days to try and reach contract settlements between the two parts as postal workers head back to their jobs.

The union has also said it intends to fight the legislation in court.

The arbitrator's decision was a hangover from the last round of contract negotiations between CUPW and Canada Post.

"It is the government's strong view that if it does not act now to protect the public interest, it will have acted too late", he told the Senate, arguing that postal disruptions are "not merely inconvenient".

In drafting the bill, Harder said the government has taken into account court rulings and is confident that its limitations on the right to strike would be upheld as a reasonably justifiable infringement of charter rights in a free and democratic society.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said it was pleased Ottawa listened to business owners, and described the postal strike as "an emergency for many small firms and for Canadian consumers".

An amendment by independent Sen.

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

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