Senate passes legislation to end country-wide Canada Post strikes

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The Canadian Senate passed legislation Monday night ordering an end to five weeks of rotating strikes by Canadian postal workers.

The Senate voted to pass Bill C-89 on Monday, and it received Royal Assent on the same day.

Executive Director of External Affairs at MUNSU, Bailey Howard says it is disappointing to see the Trudeau government infringe on the workers' right to strike by legislating them back to work.

Postal workers Lisa Swaren, left, and Sarah Poliquin were still on the picket line at a Canada Post facility in west Edmonton just a few hours before back-to-work legislation went into force.

The government deemed passage of the bill to be urgent due to the economic impact of continued mail disruptions during the busy Christmas holiday season.

"The government was totally played by Canada Post, that's absolutely clear", said Nancy Dodsworth, president of the Edmonton chapter of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The union wants better pay and job security, guaranteed hours for rural and suburban carriers, and equality with urban employees.

Negotiations have been underway for almost a year, but the dispute escalated more recently when CUPW members launched rotating strikes October 22.

Workers at the Canada Post processing plant on Almon Street and the Dartmouth delivery centre on Topple Drive will not be processing or delivering mail "until further notice".

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Canada Post confirmed last week that the backlog of packages created by the strike was already so large that mail delays would likely last through to January 2019.

Johnson pointed out that back-to-work legislation isn't resolving any of the real demands postal workers are making at the bargaining table.

It will ultimately be up to the courts to decide whether the legislation is constitutional, Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said on her way into a morning meeting with her cabinet colleagues, should it be legally challenged by CUPW.

The back-to-work legislation officially kicked in at 9:00 a.m. local time.

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.

But another independent, Sen.

The arbitrator's decision was a hangover from the last round of contract negotiations between CUPW and Canada Post. The union claims it is fighting for "health and safety, equitable treatment, fair wages and working conditions and the democratic right to free collective bargaining".

"This government was so concerned with appearances, not wanting to look like previous governments, wanting instead "to wag their finger and lift their chin in righteous indignation, that they sat on their hands until it was nearly too late".

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