Canada Post goes head to head with unions

With the summer strike season reaching Canada, Canada Post has advised the Canadian Union of Postal Workers that it has filed Notices of Dispute with the Minister of Labour in ongoing negotiations with CUPW-Urban and Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC).

The notices ask the Minister to appoint a conciliator in each negotiation.

In a statement issued on Monday (4 April), Canada Post said: “We are taking this step because while the parties have been meeting since late 2015, we are not seeing progress on key issues. In both cases, we hope that a neutral party can stimulate constructive discussion and accelerate the negotiations process.

“We remain fully committed to negotiating new collective agreements that are fair for our employees while also reflecting the changing nature of our business and needs of our customers.”

The collective agreement between Canada Post and CUPW-RSMC expired on 31 December. The collective agreement with CUPW-Urban expired on 31 January 2016. For now, the terms and conditions of both agreements continue to apply.

The CUPW responded to the Canada Post announcement by releasing its own statement , in which it claimed that the postal operator’s filing for conciliation was a “cynical attempt to provoke a labour dispute” .

“This is unprecedented in our history,” said Mike Palecek, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, “Canada Post has not even finished giving us their demands and they are already preparing to push matters to a head”.

The CUPW claimed that the “list of concessions demanded by the Crown Corporation so far includes hefty rollbacks on pensions, benefits and job security”.

In the UK Canada Post’s opposite number, Royal Mail recently saw its managers balloted for strike action over pay and conditions. The results will be reported on in the coming weeks as it looks likely that there will be stoppages this summer.