Lock out at post office: All out to defend the rights of postal workers!

Hundreds participate in support rally for locked out postal workers in opposition to back-to-work legislation, outside Canada Post legal offices in downtown Toronto, June 22, 2011. Rallies are taking place across Canada. Two rallies took place today in Antigonish and Truro, NS.

By LOUIS LANG*

(June 22, 2011) – YESTERDAY, the Harper government tabled a motion of closure to rush the passing of its back-to-work legislation against the postal workers who are fighting for their rights. Its aim is to pass the bill before Parliament recesses for the summer at the end of the day Thursday, June 23. Since today is an Opposition Day, the Harper government’s plan is to force the passing of both the motion of closure on the debate and the bill in one day. Asked by the press why her government was forcing closure of the debate on the bill, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt said that this is not abnormal procedure for Parliament in the case of back-to-work legislation. “I see no reason why we wouldn’t be doing the same thing again,” she said.

The Labour Minister and Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to keep alive the charade that they were intervening as a neutral third party versus the two parties (Canada Post and the union) that have failed to reach a negotiated agreement and threaten the economy. “This is causing harm to Canadians who are not at the table,” Harper said. He claimed that the government as a third party represents those who have no voice in the negotiations. When asked by opposition parties why his back-to-work legislation is imposing wage scales that are inferior to the ones proposed by Canada Post, he said: “The wage rates laid out in the legislation are the same as the government negotiated with its other public sector employees.” Gone was the “neutral third party” trying to force the union and Canada Post to reach an agreement.

Postal workers can appreciate that they are either called public sector employees of the government or intransigent Canada Post employees – whatever serves the aim of negating their rights.

Of interest was also a comment made by a representative of the Harper government on TV on the issue of the process leading to the back-to-work legislation. “Things were proceeding normally until June 3 when it started to derail with the postal workers going into rotating strikes,” he said. Is this the message? That when workers go on a legal strike to defend their stand that concessions which worsen their working conditions and the future of the service are untenable, it “derails the process”? What are the workers who provide the service supposed to do to defend their working conditions and their right to determine them?

Raitt’s arrogance was blatant when asked by the press why the bill was imposing lower wages than those proposed by Canada Post. She answered that people should take it as a lesson about the “danger of asking Parliament to settle your dispute.”

The workers across the country demonstrating against this assault on their rights have not missed the message.

The workers across the country demonstrating against this assault on their rights have not missed the message. Either they capitulate under “negotiations” that do not exist or are just a provocation to extort concessions, or they will face the full weight of the “law” that is even more anti-worker. This by no means applies solely to postal workers or Air Canada workers but to all workers fighting for their rights, including the right to determine the working conditions they require that are commensurate with the work they do.

The rich through the Harper government are stepping up their offensive against labour…

In this regard the comments of Lisa Raitt about closure and back-to-work legislation being standard procedure do not tell the whole truth. The rich through the Harper government are stepping up their offensive against labour, signalling that they are eliminating anything that stands in the way of increasing the exploitation of labour and that they are going to use any dirty tactics to achieve this aim.

This must not pass! Workers across the country are waging actions to denounce this travesty of authority. Governments are duty bound to defend the rights that belong to workers as the producers of society’s wealth and this can only be done if they defend public right and not monopoly right.

*Louis Lang is a postal worker and former president of the Ottawa local of CUPW.

Source: TML Daily, June 22, 2011 – No. 104

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Lock out at post office: All out to defend the rights of postal workers!

  1. Pingback: Favourites | Tony Seed’s Weblog

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