Nova Scotia

Postal employees report to job sites but refuse to work as vote looms

Postal workers in Halifax and Dartmouth reported to their job sites Monday morning, but are refusing to do any processing or delivery of mail. The Senate is expected to vote on back-to-work legislation Monday afternoon.

Canada Post workers in Halifax area are at their jobs, but not processing or delivering mail

Postal workers in Halifax and Dartmouth were refusing to work on Monday. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Postal workers in Halifax and Dartmouth made a last ditch show of force Monday, as the Senate prepares to vote later in the day on back-to-work legislation that could end the rotating strikes across the country.

More than 50,000 workers across the country are locked in a contract dispute with Canada Post. The Halifax-area employees reported to their job sites Monday morning, but are refusing to do any processing or delivery.

"They've decided to occupy it, so what that means is they are in their buildings, they're not leaving and they're not working," said Mike Keefe, first vice-president of Canadian Union of Postal Workers Nova Local.

The latest job action comes just hours before a Senate vote in Ottawa that could bring back-to-work legislation.

Rotating strikes have been ongoing over the last month across the country, including in Halifax and Dartmouth. The chief issues in the contract dispute have been pay equity and worker safety, according to the union.

"The only I hope that we have is the Senate will send back the legislation with amendments to make it better," said Keefe. "Or they could say there is absolutely no necessity in legislating an end to these strikes."

The Senate opted to push a final decision on the back-to-work legislation to Monday after hours of debate and witness testimony over the weekend. The vote is expected around 3 p.m. AT.

Senators were prepared to sit on Sunday, if necessary, but after nearly eight hours of proceedings on Saturday, the majority decided to reschedule the third and final reading of Bill C-89 for Monday afternoon.

That means back-to-work legislation could come into effect as early as Tuesday afternoon, if the legislation is passed on Monday.