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Canada Post workers continue strikes, await word on request for mediator

Last Updated Nov 19, 2018 at 8:13 am EST

Canada Post trucks sit in the parking lot of the Saint-Laurent sorting facility in Montreal on Nov. 15, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canada Post workers were continuing their rotating strikes Monday after rejecting the Crown corporation’s latest offer and asking that a mediator be appointed to help end the ongoing labour dispute.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says they have pickets in several locations, including Edmonton, Kitchener, Ont., and Kelowna, B.C., following a request late Saturday to bring in a third party.

It came after the union let pass a time-sensitive proposal from Canada Post meant to stop strikes affecting about 42,000 urban employees and 8,000 rural and suburban carriers.

A spokeswoman for Labour Minister Patty Hajdu wouldn’t say whether Ottawa would oblige the request for a mediator, but indicated it was a good sign that both sides remain committed to finding a solution.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a last-minute plea to the two sides late Saturday to resolve their differences, just hours before the midnight deadline on the Crown corporation’s offers expired.

The strikes have created a huge backlog of undelivered mail, prompting some businesses to issue pleas for a resolution ahead of the busy Christmas shopping season.

The Retail Council of Canada urged Ottawa to “bring an immediate end” to the rotating strikes through back-to-work legislation.

Last week, eBay also called on the government to legislate an end to the dispute in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events tied to the American Thanksgiving.