TORONTO, Ont. – After almost two weeks of rotating strikes by postal workers, Canada Post has locked out all of its workers nationwide.
Several Canada Post workers in Toronto called 680News shortly after 11 p.m., Tuesday, to say they showed up to work and were not allowed in.
Gary Duveau, Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ national director of Ontario, told 680News that he received calls earlier on Tuesday from several smaller locations around the country saying workers had been locked out.
Duveau said he started to receive calls from workers in Scarborough and Toronto locals at 11:01 p.m. saying they had reported to work and were told to go home.
Workers in London were reportedly told to gather their belongings and leave the plant immediately.
Duveau said that he has heard from Union executives across the country but has not heard any management representatives.
Shortly before midnight, Canada Post released a statement saying, “the accelerating decline in volumes and revenue combined with the inability to deliver mail on a timely and safe basis has left the company with no choice but to make this decision.”
In Mississauga, picket lines have been set up at entrances to the Gateway mail sorting complex near Dixie Road and Eglinton Avenue. Workers are wearing cardboard signs that read, “locked out by management.”
Union representatives speculate the lockout may be a way for Canada Post to force the government to introduce back-to-work legislation.
Rotating postal strikes took place in Toronto and Montreal earlier Tuesday. Over 15,000 postal workers were off the job in those cities.
In Toronto, striking Canada Post workers stood outside the entrances of a mail sorting facility on Eastern Avenue and blocked people who tried to get in to make deliveries.
According to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers local union head Megan Whitfield, the facility deals with about 70 per cent of the mail from across Canada.
Canada Post spokesperson John Hamilton said the rotating strikes have cost the company about $100-million.
Hamilton said some of that revenue may never return and that the rotating strikes are serving to accelerate the decline of the mail business because they are pushing major customers to go to the competition.
Strikes were held late Sunday in Corner Brook, Nfld., Fredericton, N.B., Breton, N.S., Trois-Rivieres, Que., Sherbrooke, Que., Cornwall, Ont., Windsor, Ont., Niagara Falls, Ont., Regina, Sask. and Nanaimo, B.C.