Bloomberg News

Raitt Says Canada to Introduce Bill to End Postal Strike

June 15, 2011

(Updates with government giving notice of legislation.)

June 15 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Labor Minister Lisa Raitt said the government plans to introduce legislation to order Canada Post employees back to work.

Raitt gave notice to the House of Commons the government plans to end the 12-day job action at the publicly owned postal agency. The government can introduce such a bill after 48 hours under parliamentary rules.

“Tonight we will be putting on notice legislation to restore mail delivery service for Canadians,” Raitt told lawmakers.

Earlier today, Raitt said the government hadn’t decided to introduce back-to-work legislation. The government gave notice on June 14 that it intends to put forward a similar law to end a strike at Air Canada.

Canada Post suspended urban operations across the country June 14 by locking out its workers, saying 12 days of rotating strikes by members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers had caused C$100 million ($102 million) in losses. Employees walked out June 13 in Toronto and Montreal, Canada’s biggest cities.

The strike began this month with Canada Post saying it needs to cut staff costs to avoid taking government subsidies as traditional mail services are replaced by digital communications and electronic commerce. The union wants the company to improve health, safety and sick-leave policies, among other issues.

“The accelerating decline in volumes and revenue combined with the inability to deliver mail on a timely and safe basis has left the company with no choice,” the company said in an e- mailed statement.

‘Irresponsible’ Lockout

The union called the lockout “irresponsible,” in a statement sent by e-mail. “There is now a considerable amount of mail in the system that will not be delivered.”

The company had previously cut delivery of letters and packages to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in most urban areas, saying volumes had declined as much as 50 percent since the workers began rotating 24-hour strikes in cities across Canada.

The two sides remain “far apart on several fundamental issues and there has been no progress made at the negotiating table for weeks,” Canada Post said in the statement.

The union and company are negotiating a contract for about 48,000 letter carriers and other staff in urban areas. The strike doesn’t involve another 7,000 suburban and rural mail carriers represented by the union, who are involved in a separate set of negotiations.

--Editors: Paul Badertscher, Kevin Costelloe

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Mayeda in Ottawa at amayeda@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net; David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net.


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