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B.C. labour groups to protest after Canada Post ordered back-to-work

Last Updated Nov 28, 2018 at 7:54 pm PDT

Unionized workers blocked Canada Post trucks at the Pacific Processing Centre in Richmond on Wednesday afternoon. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130)

The B.C. Federation of Labour is planning a protest outside the Vancouver Convention Centre Thursday around noon

The union is protesting the feds decision to pass legislation ordering Canada Post employees back to work

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The federal government may have legislated a stop to Canada Post’s rotating strikes, but B.C.’s labour movement is now stepping in to show support for their fellow unionized workers.

The B.C. Federation of Labour is organizing a large rally in downtown Vancouver Thursday around noon. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers previously warned that shutting down the strikes could backfire with other unionized workers stepping in, and today, other union members picketed Richmond’s Pacific Processing Centre and slowing traffic leaving the site. Police also stopped by to make sure trucks coming out of the Richmond complex were not being delayed more than a few minutes.

RELATED: Unions block trucks at Canada Post depot in B.C. to protest back-to-work bill

Now outgoing president President Irene Lanzinger expects a massive demonstration tomorrow — with potentially thousands of people– against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau forcing an end to rotating strikes with legislation.

“One of the ways that workers’ rights get undermined is by back-to-work legislation, so the Liberals introduced back-to-work legislation that is very one-sided. It only benefits the employer,” she says. “(Strikes) were a bit of an inconvenience, but they certainly were not, you know, undermining anything that’s essential in our lives.”

Richard Schaeffer, another unionized worker, spent several hours picketing the processing centre on Wednesday.

“You don’t legislate people, you negotiate,” he says, adding he was there to “send a message just to the federal government.”

Gurinder Sidhu, also a unionized worker, says he doesn’t want Canada’s labour laws eroded like they have been elsewhere.

“We’re supposed to be different than what’s going on in the US where the workers are being attacked. It’s happening here in our own country by Justin Trudeau who’s own father would be pretty disappointed with what’s happening,” he says. “I think that’s why a lot of us are here.”

Milena Kolloy also picketed the processing site.

“My parents were both in unions,” she says. “I thought it was really important that the issue with them is that their rural workers are paid less than the people in the city.”

The law ordering Canada Post employees to return to work became law on Monday, with workers returning yesteday while the unionc continue arbitration to settle differences between the Crown corporation and the union.

– With files from the Canadian Press