Unionized postal workers picketing in South Surrey earlier during the labour dispute.

Unionized postal workers picketing in South Surrey earlier during the labour dispute.

Postal service restored after back-to-work law passes

Union to comply with legislated end to strike-turned-lockout

Mail deliveries are to resume as early as Tuesday in Metro Vancouver after Parliament legislated Canada Post employees back to work over the weekend.

The House of Commons passed Bill C-6 Saturday night after a 58-hour marathon debate.

The legislation was quickly approved by the Senate and given royal assent.

It imposes a settlement and ends the lockout of nearly 50,000 postal workers that began June 14 after a series of rotating strikes at selected cities across the country.

Angry postal workers protested in Vancouver Monday, denouncing the Conservative government’s imposition of wages that are lower than Canada Post had offered the union earlier in the dispute.

Robert Mulvin, president of the Vancouver local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), said members are “deeply disturbed” by the outcome but will comply.

“The feeling on our work floor is that the management of [Canada Post] has been working hand-in-hand with the Harper government from the beginning,” he said.

“The employer has had no incentive to bargain in good faith, knowing full well that the government would intervene and impose the terms of an agreement.”

The NDP Official Opposition fought the legislation, calling it a threat to workers’ collective bargaining rights, and tried to delay it as long as possible.

The goal was to buy time for a negotiated deal that would supersede the one threatened through legislation, but union leaders said Saturday further talks with Canada Post were unsuccessful.

The NDP then tried to amend the bill to raise the wage levels to be imposed, but the amendment was defeated by the Conservative majority.

An arbitrator will choose between the final offers of the two sides on non-wage matters – a winner-take-all process CUPW denounced as biased against the union.

Labour minister Lisa Raitt said Ottawa had to intervene because of the risk of

damage to the economy.

The service interruption spurred many people to switch to online bill payments or alternative delivery services.

Mail sorting began Monday with actual deliveries expected starting Tuesday.

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