ILO Slams Canadian Government For Postal Worker Back-to-Work Legislation

OTTAWA, April 2, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) welcomes the International Labour Organization (ILO) decision finding that the back-to-work legislation imposed on Canadian postal workers in June 2011 was unjustified as postal services do not constitute essential services.  The ILO is the United Nations agency responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards.

"This is a wonderful victory for the CUPW and the entire Canadian labour movement," said CUPW National President Denis Lemelin. 

The ILO decision found that the right to strike is a fundamental right as it is the "essential means through which workers and their organizations may promote and defend their economic and social interests". The ILO points out that the right to strike can only be restricted when employees are engaged in essential services and when the disruption would threaten public health or safety. It noted that postal services do not fall under the definition of "essential services". 

"The ILO decision is clear," said Lemelin. "The right to strike is a fundamental right and, in the future, the Canadian government must respect the rights of workers to negotiate and, if necessary, strike." 

In its decision, the ILO also noted that CUPW and Canada Post Corporation (CPC) had agreed on a protocol developed by the union and CPC in conjunction with provincial, federal and territorial governments to allow for the processing and distribution of socio-economic cheques in the event of a disruption of service. The ILO said that it was the lockout by Canada Post management that "rendered respect for the minimum service protocol impossible". Instead of passing back-to-work legislation, "the Government should have limited its intervention to guaranteeing compliance with the negotiated minimum services" protocol according to the ILO.


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For more information contact our Communications Specialist, Canadian Union of Postal Workers: Kevin Matthews, Cell: 613-327-1177, Email:
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