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Canada Post lockout called off

Mail delivery will continue during negotiations

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Residents worrying about that long awaited package need not fear – postal workers will not be locked out any time soon.

Canada Post has withdrawn the lockout notice it gave last week to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), which would have seen workers locked out on Friday, July 8. That deadline was extended to Monday, July 11 before Canada Post agreed to go in 30 days of negotiations with the union.

According to a news release from Canada Post, if that month of talks does not yield any results, both parties must agree to binding arbitration.

Since the start of negotiations, Canada Post has maintained that due to declining mail and parcel deliveries across the country, it has to change the company’s pension policy, along with wage bumps of under one per cent.

“Our employees are coming to work to find the amount of mail and parcels they process and deliver has dropped significantly. Parcel volumes from our major e-commerce customers have declined by more than 80 per cent. Yesterday alone, the amount of mail deposited across our network was down more than 80 per cent compared with the same day last year,” a news release from Canada Post reads.

“A short-term extension, as proposed by the union, with the continued threat of a work disruption will not reverse this severe decline. What Canada Post has put forward is a reasonable approach that will end the uncertainty immediately and allow for meaningful discussions at the bargaining tables.”

CUPW, which called for the 30 days of negotiations that Canada Post has since agreed to, maintains that the new pension program – a defined contribution plan, as opposed to its current defined benefits plan – is less secure, with new workers not receiving a guaranteed payout in their retirement years.

The union, while voicing its pleasure that the lockout was called off, said it was unhappy that Canada Post went to the binding arbitration route, as opposed to sitting down until a deal gets hammered out.

“We have been crystal clear from the beginning we want a negotiated settlement. We want to have meaningful discussions with management, but getting a guaranteed bail-out from an arbitrator at the end of it isn’t the incentive they need to stop playing these games with the public,” states Mike Palecek, CUPW’s national president, in a news release.

“Our bosses at Canada Post could just sit there for 30 days, refuse to discuss our proposals, as they have been doing for months, and then wait things out in the legal system for years.”