The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is asking for a 30-day truce with Canada Post to allow the two parties to negotiate a new contract without a strike or lockout.
The union says the cooling off period will allow for constant mail delivery under the old contract while “intensive negotiations” continue.
Following seven months of contract talks, the two sides remain far apart on key issues including pay equity as well as cuts to pensions and benefits.
Canada Post has said it will lockout its 50,000 unionized employees Monday at 12:01 a.m. ET. in the event that a deal is not reached.
Instead, the Crown Corporation suggested the two parties undergo binding arbitration to avoid a service disruption.
The union declined the offer as a “matter of principle” and later warned that they would take their battle for pay equity to the Canadian Human Rights Commission or the courts.
The issue is the latest stumbling block in negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
The union says rural, mostly female carriers are paid 28 per cent less than their urban counterparts, who are mostly male.
The two-tiered pay structure has been in place since 2003, but the union is now asking for it to be changed so rural carriers are paid the same hourly wage as those who deliver in urban streets.
Meantime, as the lockout looms at Canada Post, other courier companies are reporting a major spike in volume.
UPS Canada has hired 300 new employees across the country and has increased its delivery schedule in response to the high demand they have recently recieved.
“We’ve had some customers switch as early as a month ago,” Mark Tabor, Vice President of Marketing for UPS Canada tells AM980.
“We continue to see customers communicate with us of a need to assist them. It continues daily and we are trying our best to make sure we don’t over-committ and under-deliver.”
Tabor admits planning for a possible spike in business has been ongoing for a while now.
“We’ve been preparing for months. It’s come down to great communication between us and our customers so that we can make sure our priority is our existing customers first and foremost before we try to expand,” says Tabor.
Should a service disruption at Canada Post occur by Monday, 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.
With files from Rana Aladdin