June 9 2011
Canada Post was elected to respond to the Union’s rotating strikes by locking out the workers 2 days per week, meaning a loss of pay for the workers. Here is the Toronto Star story explaining this new tactic. The rotating strike tactic is good for workers, since they put pressure on the employer without the employees suffering a loss of income. Now the employer is trying to ensure that workers will suffer financially as a result of the rotating strikes. The union has announced it will continue with its rotating strikes. The two parties will not probably start blaming each other for the slow down of home service. Public relations is a big part of a public sector labour dispute.
I noted last week that one option open to Canada Post to respond to rotating strikes was to implement partial or rotating lockouts. Canada Post has used the rotating lockout before in response to a work to rule by unionized workers. This time, it is cutting home service from 5 days to 3 days. The carriers will be locked out the other two days. I noted that the employer can also change terms of employment, since the collective agreement is over and their is no bargaining freeze of working conditions once the employer is in a legal lockout position. A comment posted on my earlier blog stated that Canada Post had already stopped paying for sick days, had cancelled health benefit insurance, and had ordered workers on vacation to return to work. I have not confirmed if this is true, but if so, this would be an example of Canada Post changing conditions of employment.
If you were a union member, how would you want to respond to the partial lockout imposed by the Employer?
Would you support a full-fledged strike to raise the stakes?