Strike being prepared, as union dismisses latest Canada Post offer
A postal strike could be little more than a week away in Canada, with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers yet to agree a new collective bargaining deal with Canada Post Corporation. The union issued statements today seeking to get the Canadian public on its side by assuring them that in the event of a strike, pensioners and people on low incomes would still receive their cheques.
When the clock strikes midnight on May 24th, union members will be able to exercise their right to strike and Canada Post its right to lock out its workers if a deal is not hammered out in time.
Both parties must provide 72 hours notice of their intentions prior to a strike or lockout.
Canada Post did not respond to a request for comment on the progress of talks with the union, but the CUPW said today it is “doing its best” to reach a settlement, though the two sides remain apart on “many issues”.
The Crown Corporation presented a new offer to the union last night containing “several major rollbacks”, but the union said the offer “meets very few of our demands”.
From the union’s perspective, Canada Post has been profitable for 16 years yet is demanding wage cuts for new workers and a new “inferior” sick leave plan for all staff. The union also has demands on working conditions in the light of upgrades to Canada Post infrastructure and procedures.
The latest four-year contract offer from Canada Post maintains the proposed Short Term Disability Plan that seeks to cut down on sick leave days from the current sick leave arrangements. Wage increases have been offered for the four years of the deal of 1.75% for the first two years followed by a 1.9% increase and a 2% rise in the final year.
Regarding pension and social assistance cheques during a possible strike, the CUPW has agreed with Canada Post to use volunteers to deliver cheques from the federal Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Child Benefits cheques, as well as social assistance cheques in Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the North West Territories.
However, some provincial and territorial governments – including Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as well as Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, British Columbia, Yukon and Nunavut, have opted out of the plan.
“We are pleased that we were able to make this agreement with Canada Post to deliver pension and social assistance cheques,” said Denis Lemelin, national president and chief negotiator of CUPW at a press conference held today in Ottawa. “The agreement shows that we can negotiate solutions and we will continue to try to negotiate solutions.”