Sunday , May 16 2021

Liberals table back-to-work bill for Canada Post carriers

The federal government is pushing emergency legislation to force Canada Post employees back to work while urging both sides to negotiate a deal.

Labor Minister Patty Hajdu tabled the bill in the House of Commons Thursday morning.

The Liberals also tabled a motion to fast-track the bill in order to pass it in a compressed time frame instead of pushing it through the normal three stages of readings and committee hearings that typically take several weeks. MPs will begin debating the motion today, followed by a debate on the bill, and will carry it live.

Canada Post is dealing with a fifth week of rotating strikes by thousands of unionized workers as both sides remain apart in contract negotiations.

Hajdu said Wednesday the government was "extremely serious" about back-to-work legislation. While the government did not relish the move, it became necessary because of the busy time of the year when Canadians are relying on a smooth-running mail delivery service.

NDP parliamentary leader Guy Caron suggested the government's actions are emboldening Canada's post-executives not to bargain in good faith.

"If I was a progressive Liberal, I would seriously begin to wonder how I could support a special law that would take away any leverage workers, which is currently allowing the Canada Post to not negotiate in good faith because it knows full well that the government will come and help it out of this mess, and that shows that the government is ready to do anything to please web giants such as Amazon and eBay, "Caron said in House of Commons Wednesday.

In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted the government is encouraging both parties to reach a deal, but was prepared to act if there is no "significant progress."

"We have provided conciliation officers, appointed mediators and offered voluntary arbitration," he said.

Canada Post vehicles sit idle during the rotating strike in Toronto on Wednesday. (Carlos Osorio / Reuters)

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