Small businesses in the Elk Valley have been affected by a Canada Post lockout that started last week.
While postal workers had been holding rolling strikes in city centres across the country earlier in the month, it wasn’t until the Canada Post Corporation locked the workers out and stopped mail delivery completely on Wednesday last week that businesses started to feel the effect.
Fernie Chamber of Commerce Manager, Sarah Parry, said that even though businesses have not contacted her directly to tell her about their difficulties, she knows many are suffering.
“It’s mainly the small businesses that rely on getting supplies and sending out products and invoices that are feeling the effect the most,” she said.
“Even here at the chamber, we have a pile of postcards left by visitors that need sending out, and also a big pile of invoices waiting.”
Parry said that the B.C. Chamber is going to urge MPs to support legislation mandating Canada Post workers to go back to work.
The Conservative government introduced back-to-work legislation Monday aimed at ending the lockout.
The legislation, if passed, would allow an independent arbitrator to choose between the final offer from management and the final offer from the union.
The Crown corporation has said the main sticking point in the dispute is the union’s demand for staffing levels beyond the capability of Canada Post, not wages.
The union has been emphasizing working conditions and safety issues, as well as arguing that new employees would receive inferior wages and pensions.