Canada Post drops lockout threat, negotiations continue

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Photo: flickr/Duncan Rawlinson - - @thelastminute

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Postal services will continue as normal today following a Canada Post announcement that it will back down from a lockout. Negotiations will continue between the two parties in order to achieve new collective agreements.

The Crown corporation has issued two lock-out notices to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) during the current labour dispute. The most recent notice, served Thursday, was withdrawn on Sunday, hours before its midnight deadline.

CUPW, which represents about 50,000 urban and rural suburban mail carriers, has stated repeatedly its members do not want to strike, and remain committed to keeping postal services running.

The two parties have been in talks since late last year, with little progress made at the bargaining table so far.

Wages, the workers' pension plan and service cutbacks have been key issues in the negotiations.

CUPW is pushing for an hourly wage for rural and suburban mail carriers to address the pay disparity between these workers and their suburban counterparts. The union's research showed the current pay system -- which allocates compensation for suburban and rural workers according to the number of packages delivered -- disproportionately affects its female members. About 70 per cent of the rural and suburban postie group are women. On average, they earn nearly 30 per cent less than men in the urban unit for doing the same work, the union said.

Workers have also been asked to agree to a two-tier pension plan that would result in new hires receiving less security in retirement than current CUPW members. In addition to this, union president Mike Palecek said Canada Post has also proposed changes that would result in service cutbacks to an already under-resourced postal service, including the closure of about 400 retails outlets.

Meanwhile, Canada Post's repeated calls for binding arbitration have been soundly rejected by the union. CUPW have said the issues at stake are too important to leave to an outside party, and have cited numerous labour disputes in the past where arbitration has taken place and failed to result in a timely outcome.

Federal labour minister MaryAnn Mihychuk has also asked both parties to resolve the dispute before a work stoppage occurs.

The CUPW urban unit is made up of nearly 43,000 workers, while its rural and suburban unit consists of about 8,000 workers.


Photo: flickr/Duncan Rawlinson - - @thelastminute

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