Canada Post lockout on a time limit

Local posters were on the picket line this morning after being locked out by Canada Post.  - Sean Connor/Capital News
Local posters were on the picket line this morning after being locked out by Canada Post.
— image credit: Sean Connor/Capital News

Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has given 48 hours notice of her intention to introduce a bill to end Canada Post's lockout.

"On behalf of Canadians in general and because we have a strong mandate on

this economy to make sure it recovers, we have acted," Raitt said during Wednesday's question period in the House of Commons.

Only hours earlier, Raitt said she still had to evaluate the situation to determine the damage to the Canadian economy from the lockout.

Since the Commons won't sit on Friday because of the NDP policy convention, 48 hours notice for the back-to-work bill means Monday is the earliest MPs could deal with it.

NDP Leader Jack Layton isn't enthusiastic about the idea of government intervention in the Canada Post dispute.

"These things should be resolved at the bargaining table," said Layton.

"That's how labour relations should be dealt with, especially when we're dealing with something that is still at the very early stages of dispute and discussion."

Meantime, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers slammed Canada Post for a lockout it calls "irresponsible."

"This decision from Canada Post to lock us out is really unacceptable," CUPW national president Denis Lemelin said Wednesday morning.

Signs reflecting that opinion were held up by Kelowna postal workers who were manning a picket line this morning.

Canada Post insists the union's rotating strikes left it no choice because its strike-related losses have ballooned to $100 million.

Lemelin says the union has contacted a mediator to request an immediate meeting with Canada Post president and CEO Deepak Chopra.

Both sides have called on each other to be more flexible and have rejected the need for binding arbitration to settle their dispute.





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