(Bloomberg)—Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government passed legislation to end more than a month of rotating postal strikes in a bid to protect sales for online retailers through the peak holiday season.
The Senate passed government legislation on Monday night in Ottawa after holding extended voting hours on Saturday to debate the bill, and it received a final sign-off from the country’s Governor General. That means the order takes effect at noon Tuesday.
Trudeau and Labor Minister Patty Hajdu had earlier encouraged Canada Post and unionized workers to reach a negotiated a settlement as the busy holiday season approached. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business and online retailers such as eBay Canada had called on the government to force an end to rotating work stoppages that left depots clogged with unsorted packages.
“Having exhausted all other options, it is necessary to protect the public interest and avoid further harm to the Canadian economy,” Hajdu said in a statement Monday night.
The legislation called for fines of up to C$1,000 ($755) a day for employees who don’t resume regular duties, and would extend a labor contract that expired before the strikes began. Canadian Union of Postal Workers President Mike Palecek said in a statement that members are “dismayed and outraged,” and he would look at all options to fight the order. Canada Post didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
“The government needed to give the parties some time to negotiate a settlement on their own, that seems fair and reasonable, but it really has gone on long enough,” CFIB President Dan Kelly said by phone. “The six weeks prior to Christmas represents 50% of annual sales for many firms. If that is disrupted, if that is delayed, that can be absolutely devastating.”Favorite