Canadian postal workers ratify union labour deals

Canadian postal workers have ratified the collective labour agreement hammered out with Canada Post back in October, more than two years after negotiations began. But, the deal for 48,000 urban and suburban-based members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers was approved by only 57% of the membership.

The new contract takes effect today (21st December), running through to 2016.

The union said yesterday that the deal had been reached “under duress”, after the emergency legislation pushed through in June 2011 ending a month-long national shutdown of Canada Post, and the imminent threat of arbitration ever since.

“The union remains committed to restoring truly free collective bargaining, which will involve a fight against the unjust back-to-work legislation and the anti-worker agenda of the Harper Conservative government that imposed it,” said CUPW president and chief negotiator Denis Lemelin yesterday.

Lemelin said the agreement had preserved a defined benefit pension plan and included job security measures.

At the same time, CUPW’s 7,000 rural members also ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, with a 68% approval rate. The union said better wages, and extended benefits were included in the deal for its rural unit.

“Sharpen focus”

Canada Post said yesterday it was pleased employees had ratified the agreements negotiated in October.

The company said it was now necessary to work together with CUPW members to continue the “urgent task” of adapting the business to the “dramatically changing” mail market in Canada.

“Canada Post and its employees must now sharpen their focus to work together to address the enormous challenge facing the postal service: rapidly declining volumes in Transaction Mail (bills, invoices, notices and statements),” the Corporation said.

“This is occurring as businesses, governments and Canadian consumers make a historic and irreversible shift to digital communications.”

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