Canada Post to restart operations from today

Canada Post has begun preparations to resume its operations today, with expectations that mail deliveries will begin to resume from tomorrow (June 28). The Corporation said yesterday that the lock-out imposed since June 15 could now end with the passage of the government’s back-to-work legislation through Parliament over the weekend.

The legislation – the Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Bill – makes it illegal for postal workers to strike, and sets out a new four-year wage deal with the 48,000 urban-based members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

It was passed after a 58-hour debate in Canada’s House of Commons that ended on Saturday, with the Senate passing the bill yesterday without the presence of the filibustering New Democratic Party.

Officially, the legislation comes into effect at 8.30pm today (June 27).

In a statement, Canada Post said yesterday that post offices that were closed during the lock-out will reopen Tuesday, while all mailboxes will be unsealed as soon as possible.

Canada Post staff will return to work within the next day or so, although it should take some time to process the backlog of mail in the system.

The Corporation said: “With unprocessed mail in the system and accumulated mail received from other countries that has not yet entered our system, it will take some time to stabilize our operations and to return to our normal delivery standards. Any mail in the system at the time of the work disruption has been secured for processing and delivery.”

Union advises members

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has already advised its members to report back for their next shift as normal.

It said defying the back-to-work legislation would mean “enormous financial penalties”.

Denis Lemelin, the CUPW national president, said: “The government has attacked our right to freely negotiate the conditions we work under. It appears that only markets and employers will have freedoms in this country.

“The union’s struggle for safe work, decent jobs and pensions will continue in spite of this unjust and punitive bill. Fortunately, the government can’t legislate away our determination to fight for our rights,” added the union boss.

Prior to the weekend’s legislative action, Canada Post had been negotiating with the union since October for a new collective bargaining agreement effective from February 2011.

Conflict came from the Corporation’s efforts to bring in changes to cut operating costs, since mail volumes are declining, with the CUPW objecting on the grounds that despite declining mail volumes Canada Post has been continuing to make a profit for the last 16 years running.

With the resumption of activities at Canada Post, the US Postal Service has advised its customers that it will begin accepting mail for Canada from tomorrow (June 28). Mail held in the USPS network since the work stoppage began is now being released and transported into Canada.

“Due to the large volumes of mail held by countries, customers may experience slightly longer transit times. USPS is working closely with the Canadian Postal Service to hold delays to a minimum,” USPS advised.

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