OTTAWA, June 21 (UPI) -- Canada's Conservative government is rushing legislation through parliament to force postal workers back to work as early as Friday.
Labor Minister Lisa Raitt presented the bill Monday afternoon and said with a majority government, there was no reason it couldn't be enacted by Thursday when the House begins its summer break.
After weeks of failed negotiations over wages and sick time, Canadian Union of Postal Workers members staged 12 days of rotating strikes across the country this month. Canada Post said the strikes had cost $100 million and locked out 50,000 workers last Tuesday.
The back-to-work legislation calls for binding arbitration in which both sides will present offers and the arbitrators will choose one of them as is, Postmedia News said.
The union has held firm with demands of a 3.3 percent wage increase in the first year, followed by 2.75 percent gains per year for the final three years of the contract.
Canada Post negotiators said they would accept an increase of 1.9 percent in the first three years and 2 percent in the fourth. The government corporation said workers had to understand traditional mail volume is declining, with losses to electronic and private competition.