Rolling 24-hour strikes at Canada Post begin in Winnipeg
Postal workers went on strike in Canada last night, as the Canadian Union of Postal Workers took its bargaining with Canada Post to the picket line. Despite a last-minute offer from Canada Post yesterday, with what it described as “significant concessions” responding to union demands, postal workers officially laid down their tools in the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba, at 10.59pm local time.
CUPW National President Denis Lemelin said this morning that his negotiating team was prepared to keep trying for a contract with the Crown Corporation.
He said: “We have done our very best to get an agreement without a strike. Unfortunately, Canada Post has left us with no other choice. We cannot accept unsafe and unfair conditions.”
Workers are set to picket the main Canada Post processing plant at 1870 Wellington Avenue in Winnipeg for 24 hours. Other rolling 24-hour strikes are set to follow elsewhere in Canada, potentially later today, as the union continues to apply pressure in talks for a new four-year contract.
Winnipeg was selected for the first union protest because it was where Canada Post’s $2bn network upgrade effort, Postal Transformation, began.
The union has made various claims that Canada Post’s modernisation effort has brought unacceptable conditions for workers, including health and safety concerns.
“We’re starting in Winnipeg because it is the first place where Canada Post brought in the new machines and work methods that are causing so many problems for the public and postal workers,” said Lemelin.
At a broader level, the union is continuing to hold out for higher wage increases than Canada Post has been offering, as well as a better deal for new workers as the Corporation seeks ways to cut its labour costs to respond to declining mail volumes.
Yesterday afternoon as Canada Post presented a fresh offer to the union, it said in a statement: “Canada Post believes that a disruption to postal service is completely unnecessary and is disappointed that the union is planning to begin rotating strikes in Winnipeg, Manitoba at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).
“The focus of the company and union should be on negotiating a new labour agreement and serving Canadians.”