Canada Post gives Friday lockout notice to union

Canada Post decided to pre-empt a strike and instead present workers with a lockout notice.
Canada Post decided to pre-empt a strike and instead present workers with a lockout notice. (Photo: REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have been in negotiations about employee pay and benefits since December 2015, with little progress to show for it.

As workers move closer to striking, Canada Post decided to pre-empt a strike and instead present workers with a lockout notice this morning. This comes after CUPW was presented with Canada Post’s latest offer on June 25, which Canada Post said was its “final” offer.

What is a lockout?

A lockout notice means that workers have been advised that the employer intends to prevent them from getting into their workplace. In other words, if the lockout takes effect, the employer shuts down the workplace, stops work or is unwilling to continue employing workers during a labour dispute.

Employers use lockouts to try to persuade unionized employees to agree to terms and conditions of employment that favour the employer.

How is a lockout different form a strike?

A lockout is the opposite of a strike. During a strike it’s the unionized employees that stop working, refuse to work or continue to work but slow the work process down which is intended to limit production.

Unions and unionized workers use strikes to try to persuade employers to agree to better terms and conditions of employment for employees.

Are strikes and lockouts legal?

Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers are regulated by the Canada Labour Code.

The only time strikes and lockouts are not legal is if either no union exists, or if a union does exist, the business or union did not follow the rules and requirements established when proceeding to strike, also known as a wildcat strike, or declaring a lockout.

How will a Canada Post worker lockout affect Canadians?

Postal service may come to a grinding halt across provinces as early as Friday, as Canada Post has said it won’t “operate. . . in the event of a full work disruption.” This means Canadians are not going to receive their mail for the duration of the lockout. If workers decide to go on strike after the lockout has ended, then Canadians may have to wait even longer for their mail.

The notice doesn’t necessarily mean that a lockout will take place, as both sides are still at the negotiating table.

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