Just one day after holding an information picket, postal workers in Prince Rupert found themselves unable to work after Canada Post locked out employees across the country.
According to Canada Post, the move was done because the 12-days of rotating strikes have resulted in estimated losses of $100 million, concerns have been raised about moving mail while keeping employees and customers safe, the company and the union remain far apart on a number of issues with no progress being made and continued uncertainty from rotating strikes would jeopardize Canada Post’s ability to be financially self sufficient and not become a burden on the taxpayers.
“We believe that a lockout is the best way to bring a timely resolution to this impasse and force the union to seriously consider proposals that address the declining mail volumes and the $3.2-billion pension deficit,” read a statement from the company.
“Canada Post continues to believe that the best result from this round of bargaining is a negotiated settlement. The company had hoped to reach an agreement without a disruption in Canada’s postal service which is why the company made every effort to protect the pay, pension and job security of existing employees.”
Prince Rupert CUPW representative Paula Picard said she got a call about the lockout at 10 p.m. on Tuesday night and said the lock out was irresponsible on the part of Canada Post.
“Right now in the post office, a quick estimate I did shows there are 24,000 pieces of first class mail to be delivered. That’s not including parcels or magazines, and the HST referendum mail is locked in there as well,” she said.
“This is the heaviest June I have ever seen.”
Picard said union members will be on the line as long as the lock out continues, and said she has concerns about the rumoured back to work legislation being considered at the federal level.
“If we are legislated back to work, which my understanding is not in the cards, is the Harper majority that doesn’t not bode well for workers. We know they’re not a worker-friendly majority, so it is a pretty serious concern,” she said, noting that the union has attempted to end the job action.
“We met with the Minister and said we would end the rotating strikes if Canada Post put the current collective agreement back in place, and they refused.