Postal workers in Regina protested outside the Canada Post building on Tuesday morning but still returned to work at the 11 a.m. deadline.
After five weeks of rotating strikes, the Senate passed legislation late Monday night ordering them back to deliveries.
Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) staged protests against the legislation across the country Tuesday morning.
Union members in Regina marched up and down Saskatchewan Drive in front of the main postal office and occupied the letter carrier depots in the north and south end of the city to show their anger over the ruling.
“This is just about letting the government know that unconstitutional back-to-work legislation just isn’t acceptable anymore,” union local 820 president Bill Johnson said.
While they put down their signs and returned to work, he said up until that point they were exercising their constitutional right to strike.
Johnson pointed out that back-to-work legislation isn’t resolving any of the real demands postal workers are making at the bargaining table.
He said the legislation sends the message that the government doesn’t care about those issues, which include things like pay for rural and suburban carriers and workplace injuries.
“The health and safety issues are still not going to be addressed and the overburdening of our letter carriers aren’t going to be addressed either,” Johnson said.
Canada Post has said millions of parcels and other pieces of mail are backlogged and delayed due to the rotating strikes.
“This has never been about the public, and that’s why we’ve gone this route – because we don’t want to make it a huge impact on the public,” Johnson said.
He described the backlog as an “artificial crisis” created by Canada Post, saying that he knows people who have ordered packages during rotating strikes and still received them within three days.
A government-appointed mediator now has 90 days to reach a deal with Canada Post and the union.
With files from CJME’s Evan Radford