After a 72-hour lockout notice by Canada Post to its workers, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers is firing back.
Head of the union, Mike Palacek, says the lockout notice won’t steer them away from trying to reach a settlement.
“Our goal is to get a negotiated collective agreement without a labour dispute. That’s been our goal from the outset. To that end, we are not issuing strike notice, we are remaining at the table, we will be there seven days a week to try and hammer out a deal.”
Early Tuesday morning, Canada Post issued the lockout notice to its 50,000 workers, setting the stage for a possible work stoppage to begin on Friday. Workers would still receive their regular pay and some benefits.
The notice came a day after the Crown corporation said that their June 25 offer would be their final offer, and that CUPW’s demands are not affordable. A release says the union’s requests would “add at least $1-billion in new costs over the term of new collective agreements.”
But Palacek says Canada Post is lying about the figures it is telling the media.
“I remember, it wasn’t too long ago, when they were saying the corporation would be losing $1-billion a year. That never materialized. Canada Post is profitable. They recorded a first quarter profit of $44-million this year, so they’re on track to do far better than their $100-million profit last year,” he said.
There seems to be differing opinions on either side over what is stalling negotiations.
Canada Post has said changes to employee pensions would be costly in the long term.
Meanwhile, the union says it wants pay equity between its rural, mostly female mail carriers and the urban, mostly male carriers.
According to Palacek, the rural carriers are 70 per cent made up of women but make 28 per cent less than their male counterparts.
“I’m sorry if Canada Post says they can’t afford to pay women equally. That isn’t a good enough argument for us. Canada Post needs to follow the law and pay women equally.”
Should a labour stoppage go ahead, government cheques like Canada Pension Plan, old age security, and Canada Child Benefit have all been deemed essential by the Canada Revenue Agency and will continue to be delivered.