Canada Post raises ante in high-stakes poker game with Canadian Union of Postal Workers
In a media release posted on its website Tuesday, Canada Post said it as notified the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) that it will be changing the terms and conditions of employment for all employees represented by the union starting Friday, July 8, 2016.
Canada Post said the reason is the uncertainty caused by the prolonged negotiations and the union’s strike mandate is having a negative and escalating impact on the postal service.
Canada Post said customers are already looking to avoid the risk of a work disruption.
The company said examples of the impact are being felt across the network:
- Nearly all of our largest e-commerce customers have already moved most or all of their parcel volumes to other carriers, resulting in a volume decline of at least 75 per cent from these customers.
- The number of parcels arriving at our largest plants via transport trucks has declined to the point where there often are not enough parcels to last an entire processing shift.
- Lettermail is down in many facilities by as much as 50 per cent and over the weekend, commercial customers deposited half the mail they usually deposit.
Canada Post said the corporation must now respond to the rapidly deteriorating volumes and the financial impact to the business, using the means provided in the Canada Labour Code.
“As of Friday, July 8, 2016, the terms and conditions of the current collective agreements will no longer apply,” the media release explains.
“Under the new terms and conditions, employees will continue to receive their regular pay and some benefits such as applicable prescription drug coverage. Other items will be cancelled in line with the statutory minimum conditions established under the Canada Labour Code. The Corporation will also have the flexibility to adjust staffing according to the amount of work required.”
In order to take this step, Canada Post said the corporation has followed the procedural requirements and issued a 72-hour notice to the union. The issuing of the notice does not necessarily mean that Canada Post will not be operating on Friday.
It allows the Corporation to take measures that are necessary to respond to the changing business reality.
On July 4, 2016, Canada Post informed CUPW that the offers the Corporation presented on June 25, 2016 are considered final, as they represent a fair and reasonable framework for settlements.
The company also informed CUPW that the union’s more than $1 billion in demands were unaffordable and therefore rejected.
CUPW president Mike Palecek responded Tuesday, “we knew this was their game all along.”
“They are sabotaging the public review of the post office,” Palacek said.
“They refused to negotiate fairly with us and now they ‘re locking the doors and will try to starve us into submission.”
Palecek said the union has been attempting to negotiate pay equity for its female-dominated workforce of rural carriers and stave off the profitable Crown Corporation’s demands for massive rollbacks.
Canada Post has tabled just one offer since negotiations began and is now shutting down Canadians’ postal service across the country.
“This is brought to you by the men who wanted to take away home delivery,” said Palecek.
“They wanted us to sell out the next generation of Canadian postal workers for a quick deal, but we stood firm. Now they’re going to hold the public hostage until they get what they want.”
Canada Post has said should a full work disruption begin now mail will move or be accepted.
But the Federal Government has deemed Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan, Working Income Tax Benefit and the Canada Child Benefit cheques “essential” — even during a labour disruption.
Canada Post has said delivery for one day a month would be arranged.