Mail service in the Elk Valley will stop tonight if Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) do not reach an agreement today (Thursday).
CUPW gave a 72-hour strike notice to Canada Post on Monday after Canada Post’s negotiating team failed to reach an agreement with the union.
Ed Nicholles, regional union representative of CUPW, said Elk Valley residents should not expect there to be any service from Friday, apart from the delivery of government cheques.
“We will not know until the last minute on Thursday night whether or not there will be a full blown strike. In the event of a strike, mail and parcels will not be delivered,” he said. “Rural route carriers will continue to work until a time when there is no more mail to deliver, in which case they will be laid off.”
Nicholles said the main issues being negotiated involved workers’ benefits, rather than wages.
“The main issues are the lower rate of pay for new employees that Canada Post wants to introduce, the pension plan and sick leave plan. Wages are not a priority for us, we just want to maintain our current benefits plan.”
However, Anick Losier, Director of Media Relations for Canada Post Corporation, said they believe the company offers a competitive package for new employees.
“With in excess of 17 per cent letter mail volume decline since 2006, Canada Post’s challenges are well understood,” she said.
“To address these challenges we have proposed a competitive and comprehensive pay and benefits package for employees hired in the future. The offer put forward for new employees will still make Canada Post an attractive place to work.
“If there is a work disruption mail and parcels will not be delivered. However, contingency plans are in place to ensure the safety of any items that remain in the mail stream during a work disruption. There are also plans to ensure Canada Post returns to normal operations as quickly as possible following any work disruption.”
During the strike, please pick up your copies of The Free Press from the Free Press office in Fernie, Overwaitea in Sparwood, the mall in Elkford or the general store in Jaffray or call 250-423-4666 to arrange additional pickup locations.