Canada Post’s vicious, immoral and irrational blackmail of postal workers

Hold Canada Post and the Trudeau government to account for any harm that comes to postal workers!

As the deadline for the lockout of postal workers by Canada Post approaches it is clear that the corporation has decided to proceed in a spirit of revenge against postal workers and their union. It is not only preparing to impose severe rollbacks but is seeking to overwhelm postal workers with irrational demands such as that management can set whatever working conditions it wants. This attempt to use their corporate power to deprive the postal workers of their right to working conditions commensurate with the work they perform is not only vindictive – it is irrational. The post office has a century of experience in the kind of working conditions required to run the postal service. There is a modern way of doing things which takes the needs of human beings into account. The corporation’s calculations that it can impose its agenda by smashing the workers’ resistance and their fight for the rights of all is self-serving and cannot be accepted.

Using the threat of a lockout – which the corporation has now postponed from midnight July 8 to 12:01 am on July 11, 2016 – it seeks to make the attacks on the rights of the workers a fait accompli. These attacks are referred to as “negotiations” by the monopoly media and the likes of the Trudeau government.

The latest evidence of Canada Post’s depravity came on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, when management began posting a letter on work floors across the country announcing their intention to unilaterally declare working conditions in direct violation of the present conditions of employment.

The letter reveals that although the corporation issued a 72-hour notice of lockout to the union, this does not mean that Canada Post will stop operating. Far from it, Canada Post says it will comply with basic requirements stipulated in the Canada Labour Code and the workers must come under this dictate.

The letter states, “As of Friday, July 8, 2016, (now changed to Monday, July 11, 2016) the terms and conditions of the current collective agreements will no longer apply. Under the new terms and conditions, employees will continue to receive their regular pay and some benefits such as applicable prescription drug coverage. Other items will be cancelled in line with the statutory minimum conditions established under the Canada Labour Code. The Corporation will also have the flexibility to adjust staffing according to the amount of work required.” (emphasis added.)

This is a grave provocation. According to the corporation, postal workers must report to work once the deadline for lockout has passed and face the arbitrary rule of Canada Post management which is one-sided, self-serving and irrational. Canada Post thinks it can operate the post office by eliminating organizational structures and working conditions which have been developed over decades, all for the purpose of imposing a corporate agenda on the workers. This is the level to which the corporation has sunk. To boot, it arrogantly calls this part of the “negotiations process.”

Canada Post’s letter reveals the depravity of Canada Post management. Far from taking responsibility for its workforce which is fighting to uphold its hard won rights, it claims that this action is necessary because “[t]he uncertainty caused by the prolonged negotiations and the union’s strike mandate is having a negative and escalating impact on the postal service.”

To claim that such self-serving poppycock is the “truth” shows what Canadians are up against when monopolies can use their power to impose private interests on the public. The fact is that for the past few months representatives of Canada Post have been going around the country advising their customers to use other means to do their mailing. Canadians have heard this. What is the significance? The significance is that since the beginning of negotiations it is the corporation that has been threatening to close the doors of the post office if management does not get its way. In fact, it is only the spokespersons of Canada Post who have repeatedly talked about this “disruption of postal services,” for which they blame the union, even though it is the corporation that has refused to negotiate at the “negotiations table.”

Meanwhile, the Trudeau government is pretending to be neutral although, in fact, it is playing the game of the corporation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is not considering back-to-work legislation if there is a work stoppage at Canada Post. The government “believes in good-faith negotiations that happen around the bargaining table,” he said. Referring to back-to-work legislation, Trudeau said there is no need to be “heavy-handed.”

What about blackmail which threatens that if postal workers do not comply with the arbitrary dictate of managers on the shop floor they will be criminalized? Is that how the rule of law now operates under the Liberal regime? Canada Post’s letter has no other intent than to break the resistance of the workers and their union. Is that not “heavy-handed?”

Is the job of the government to support the corporation under the pretense that it is “neutral” when it should be upholding public right? Negotiations are also inscribed in labour law and require good-faith bargaining and fairness. Unless they are premised on respect for workers’ rights, not the use of corporate might to impose a corporate agenda to the detriment of the workers and society, there is no use pretending the law is worthy of any respect whatsoever.

The so-called neutral, anti-heavy-handed position of the Trudeau government is contemptible and exposes a profound hypocrisy and prejudice in favour of Canada Post’s privatization agenda. It is clear that the Trudeau government has decided to allow the most vicious attacks on postal workers and call it “good-faith negotiations.”

The government must be made to answer for its alleged neutrality. It must take responsibility for its failure to answer for the kind of society it is presiding over which allows such flagrant attacks on workers and their rights. Are these criminal attacks of the corporation against the workers examples of “common values” the Trudeau government has declared unite us on the eve of the 150th anniversary of Confederation?

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) calls on Canadians from all walks of life to tell their Members of Parliament that this is not acceptable. CPC(M-L) calls on all union centrals and locals to demand an end to this charade.

What outcome do Canada Post and the government expect from this threat to impose the so-called minimum standards of the Canada Labour Code on Canada’s postal workers as of 12:01 am on July 11? The corporation has refused to negotiate anything. It has from the start of the negotiating process imposed its demands which are unacceptable to the postal workers. Does it really think the postal workers are just going to agree with this? Is this the new normal in Canada that workers can only have a job if they give up their rights and their conscience?

Any public authority worthy of the name would intervene and stop Canada Post from issuing such blackmail and acting with impunity. The corporation should be charged with fomenting anarchy and chaos in the post office and held responsible for the consequences which result from this imposition.

CPC(M-L) calls on Canadians to oppose any attempt to criminalize postal workers who defend their working conditions. These working conditions must be conducive to doing their job safely and with dignity. Canada Post and the Trudeau government must be held to account should any harm come to the workers as a result of refusing unsafe work, including full compensation should they be sent home under any pretext whatsoever.

Canadian workers are fighting to defend their rights in all sectors of the economy. Monopoly corporations dictate the terms of work, pay, pensions and benefits and even whether the monopolies pay taxes or environmental cleanup bills. There is no due process for the workers to defend their interests. Insolvency courts declare that the Boards of Directors of the companies have businesspeople who are best-versed in telling the court what should be done. Governments take the same approach. It must not pass. It is the fight of the workers for their own wages, working conditions, pensions and benefits which defends the rights of all.

Let Us Together Take a Bold Step in Defence of the Rights of All!
Say No to Canada Post! Stand with the Postal Workers to Defy the Unacceptable and Immoral Position of Canada Post and the Trudeau Government!
The Time to Take a Principled Stand Is Now!

Source: TML Weekly, July 9, 2016

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