Comment 119703

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 07, 2016 at 20:24:35

There are good reasons why lockouts are very rare in the private sector. When a labour contract expires, usually the workers continue working under the terms and conditions of the expired contract while negotiations continue for a new contract.

If the negotiations drag on, inflation hands the workers what effectively amounts to an annual pay cut, since wage rates are frozen at the rates in the expired contract.

However, according to the information in the link provided by Ryan, this is not a lockout. A lockout occurs when the company management decides to temporarily cease using the services of its unionized workers. In a traditional factory environment, they will literally lock the doors of the factory so the workers cannot get in.

In other words,

Lockout = Management chooses to temporarily stop employing the unionized workers.

Strike = Union decides to temporarily stop working for the company.

According to Canada Post, a lockout is not what they plan to do. From the link:

As of Friday, July 8, 2016, the terms and conditions of the current collective agreements will no longer apply. Under the new terms and conditions, employees will continue to receive their regular pay and some benefits such as applicable prescription drug coverage. Other items will be cancelled in line with the statutory minimum conditions established under the Canada Labour Code. The Corporation will also have the flexibility to adjust staffing according to the amount of work required.

In other words, a reduction in benefits and in featherbedding. That's not a lockout. By private sector standards, this is a rather tough negotiating tactic. After all, if management objects to any existing benefits, why did they agree to them in the previous labour contract? It is also probably an unwise and unduly provocative negotiating tactic in a company that traditionally has a rather toxic labour relations environment. This kind of negotiating tactic is not going to improve that environment.

But this is not a lockout. The workers can still work, and receive their regular pay and some benefits. If the workers then choose not to work, then that is a strike.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2016-07-07 20:25:26

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