06/17/2011 10:21 EDT | Updated 08/17/2011 05:12 EDT

Striking Canada Post Workers Seek Public Support


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- The union representing locked-out postal workers is planning a series of rallies to try to build public support.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says the first events will be held Friday in Toronto and Vancouver.

The decision to hold the rallies follows a meeting yesterday between union officials and Canada Post president Deepak Chopra.

The union says there was little progress as the two sides face the prospect of government intervention next week with back-to-work legislation.

Chopra has posted a message of the post office's website defending the decision to impose a lockout after more than a week of rotating strikes.

He said the job action had already cost Canada Post $100 million in lost revenue, and that could not continue.

The opposition is accusing the Harper government of using heavy-handed tactics to end the labour dispute at Canada Post.

Labour Minister Lisa Raitt said Thursday the government is going ahead with plans for back-to-work legislation for the 48,000 postal workers, who have been locked out since Wednesday.

A bill is expected to be tabled Monday, with debate beginning Tuesday.

Canada Post says it's prepared to negotiate through the weekend to reach a settlement.

Negotiators for the two sides were to meet Friday and throughout the weekend.

There will be a brief truce next week, as the two sides have agreed to deliver social assistance cheques on Monday.