Canada’s Parliament will force Canada Post to end its lockout of all employees and resume national postal service, that shut down June 14, through legislation introduced in Parliament Monday.
Federal Labor Minister Lisa Raitt introduced a bill to require “the resumption and continuation of postal services,” as letters, parcels and packages piled up in Canada and on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. The U.S. Postal Service announced last week that it was not sending any mail north across the border pending a return to operations.
The bill likely will take two or three days to pass the Commons and the Senate, with the main opposition being the New Democratic Party, which is opposed to government intervention in bargaining between the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canada Post.
Parliament is due for summer recess on Friday but the majority Conservative government says it may keep both houses in session longer to pass the bill, which would take effect 24 hours after becoming law.
The Bill, introduced in the hope it would spark a resolution of stalled negotiations, occurred within hours after Raitt introduced back-to-work legislation last week for the national strike against Air Canada. The two sides were talking Monday.
The bill provides for a binding decision by an arbitrator whom Raitt will appoint. He or she will make what is called a “final offer selection.” Either the CUPW offer or the Canada Post offer will be chosen, without any compromises or amending phrases being written in.
The government bill includes a decree that the new collective agreement will be for four years and will include government-decided salary increases of 1.75 percent in 2011 and 2012, and 2.0 percent for 2013 and for 2014. These will not be part of the arbitrator’s decision The big issue deadlocking the two is Canada Post’s desire to offer lesser wages, benefits and pensions to new hires than existing employees receive..