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Bill to end Canada Post rolling strikes passes Commons; Senate will take it up Monday

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With Canada’s House of Commons having voted Saturday in favor of legislation that would end the rolling walkouts at Canadian postal service Canada Post that have hit various parts of the country, the Canadian Senate will take up the bill Monday.

The vote in the Commons was not close: 166-43

Sen. Peter Harder, who is the Liberals’ government representative in the Senate, said several senators had indicated they needed more time to study the legislation, according to Canadian press reports.

The bill would end the rolling strikes and appoint a mediator-arbitrator to help Canada Post–a government-owned but independently-run Crown Corporation–and the union representing its workers come to an agreement. If mediation fails, the two sides would enter binding arbitration.

That union, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers continued to object to the action in Parliament. “We condemn the legislation as a hypocritical act by a government that promised to defend workers’ rights, claimed to stand for equality for women, and claimed to stand for expanding and defending the middle class,” it said in a statement released Saturday. “It’s unacceptable for any government to violate workers’ Charter rights, especially one that said it would work to improve labour relations at Canada Post.”

If the Senate passes the bill, it will go into effect the day after it is signed by the Governor General, which is a mostly ceremonial position inside the Canadian government.

The government several days ago reappointed Morton Mitchnick as a special mediator in the standoff between Canada Post and the CUPW. Earlier mediation efforts in the more than one year of discussions have failed.

Canada Post earlier last week offered the union a cooling-off period through January and a new offer. But the union rejected it, demanding that Canada Post return to the bargaining table.

The contract between the CUPS and Canada Post expired November 17.

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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.

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