Postal workers protested one last time Tuesday morning before federal legislation went into effect, forcing an end to five weeks of rotating strikes.
Sixty-three Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) locations across Canada, including six in B.C., participated in voluntary strikes, which ended at 9:00 a.m. PST on Nov. 27.
Workers in Prince Rupert, Elk Valley, Fort St. John, Golden, Kamloops and Nanaimo participated in the B.C. strike.
In Prince Rupert, CUPW workers stood outside the Canada Post building on Second Avenue West between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.
Paula Picard, the Prince Rupert CUPW president, said the back to work legislation is unsafe and there is no massive backlog of parcels to be cleared for the holiday season.
“The corporation bragged last Christmas that they delivered a million parcels in a day,” Picard said. “A million plus parcels is not a backlog. As our CUPW president told the Senate, a million plus parcels is a Monday, and we will do that consistently between now and Christmas.”
Representatives from Canada Post and the CUPW will now return to negotiations with a mediator. The CUPW is asking for better pay and improvement in work safety and job security for its workers.
“Hopefully there’ll be some resolutions on some of those issues,” Picard said.
The Senate passed Bill C-89 on Monday, Nov. 26 following days of debate as to whether or not it was necessary to order an end to the rotating strikes. The bill passed quickly through the House of Commons last week as the government was afraid of the effect a slowdown in delivery services could have on businesses during the Christmas period.
In a statement issued on its website, the CUPW called the legislation “unconstitutional” and said while the legal strike action is over, the struggle is not.
“In the coming days we will be calling on our allies and membership for a campaign of mobilizations, demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience,” the statement said. “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.”