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Ecommerce Black Friday labor update: Canada Post union pushes back, Amazon Europe strikes

Two reports from last mile/ecommerce battlegrounds on Black Friday:

In Canada, a day after legislation was introduced by the governing Liberal party that would end the rotating strikes that have hit Canada Post, the union behind those walkouts is pushing back against it.

In demanding that Canada Post return to the bargaining table, rather than have the walkouts end via legislation imposed on the Crown Corporation, the Canadian Union of Postal Walker said it wants “free and fair negotiations” with Canada Post.

The statement released by the CUPW also brings up the fact that the Liberal party is generally seen as being sympathetic to union demands. “This is the first time this government has introduced back-to-work legislation, and the message it sends to employers is troubling,” the statement said. It also quoted the president of the Canadian Labour Congress Hassan Yussuff as saying that the “right to strike is an integral part of the collective bargaining process.”

Possibly to bring the impact of the strikes closer to to the government, the rolling walkout was extended into the capital of Ottawa Friday, according to press reports.

At the same time, the union again said, in essence, that its rolling strikes are not having any impact.

In a counter-statement to Canada Post’s declarations about a significant backlog of parcels that can’t be cleared until January 2019, CUPW President Mike Palacek, in the company’s prepared statement released Friday morning, said that “Canada Post seems to have convinced Trudeau that Christmas wouldn’t come without back-to-work legislation. But the mail was moving, and people know it. People have been getting their mail and online orders delivered.”

While there are salary disputes in the standoff between the CUPW and Canada Post–the contract covering the union expired Saturday–the growing demands put on the work force by ecommerce is also a key point of contention.

The Trudeau government has appointed yet another mediator in the dispute. Palacek, in the union statement, said the negotiator should stay, but more importantly, “the government can direct Canada Post to negotiate fairly.They said all options are on the table, what happened to th at one?”

The legislation is still before the House of Commons, with press reports saying the Senate is in position to act on it over the weekend if it is passed by the Commons.


In Europe, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) logistics centers in Germany and Spain were hit with strikes, according to Reuters.

In Germany, about 620 workers struck at facilities in Bad Hersfeld and Rheinberg.

Workers at Amazon’s biggest warehouse in Spain, San Fernando de Henares, walked off the job on Friday and will also strike on Saturday. Unions said between 85 and 90 percent of staff were taking part in the industrial action.

Reuters said the German workers start at 10.78 euros ($12.23) per hour. It did not give a figure for the Spanish workers.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.