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A complicated battle at Canada Post: labour expert

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Issuing a 72-hour lock-out notice for Canada Post employees is a strong move by the government according to a labour expert.

Professor Mark Thompson with UBC’s Sauder School of Business says all of the warnings about a labour disruption have been good for the union, use goes down and employees stay on the job. It’s been hurting the government because people are reluctant to use the service.

“So the employer pulled the trigger on this by locking out the employees and putting more pressure on them.”

Thompson notes people using mail service in a much different way than in the past, making this uncharted territory.

“So many of us use other means to communicate. We have our bills deducted from our bank accounts and things like that. We have email and financial transactions conducted electronically. The union has offered to deliver pension cheques and other benefits through the mail but we don’t really know how difficult it is going to be for most Canadians.”

He adds this dispute is a bit more complicated than it has been in the past. “There is an additional wrinkle in this dispute because the Liberal government, the Trudeau government, asked the president of Canada Post to resign. His contract was extended late in the term of the previous government and he refused.”

Changes to employee pension plans have been at the heart of the negotiations. If neither side gives, mail service could stop on Friday.

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