The retail outlet at the main Canada Post location in St. John's was closed on Tuesday, and the union says the corporation's poor management is to blame.

Mike McDonald, president of union local 126 that represents postal workers in the metro area, said Canada Post knew well in advance that this could happen at the Kenmount Road location.

"We're in a situation today where I think Canada Post didn't realize Christmas was going to happen, and it's the busiest week for us and they didn't staff the place properly," he said.

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Local union representative Mike McDonald says it's as if Canada Post didn't realize Christmas was coming this year. (CBC)

"There was only one individual that was scheduled to work for the day and with an urgent family matter, that leaves no one to cover the positions that should be covered."

According to McDonald, local unions had pre-Christmas discussions with the corporation to adequately prepare for their busiest season, but that company wasn't interested in talking about the retail scheduling aspect this year.

"We apologize for the mismanagement of Canada Post right now. A lot of our workers are doing everything that they can, they're working a lot of long hours … we are trying our best," McDonald said.

Minimal impact on customers: company

But according to John Caines, a spokesperson with Canada Post, the company was well prepared - they just can't predict employee absences.

"The bottom line is we're challenged with employee absences, that seems to be the problem," Caines said.

"We had a contingency plan in place, we knew we would be a little short, but more people called in sick and we were unable to staff that location today."

Caines said discussions with local representatives before Christmas did, in fact, take place, and things were prepared well in advance.

"We did consult with them, they knew what was going on — we always do this. We were prepared, we had a plan in place, and unfortunately, we are challenged with employee absences, and there's not much we can do about that," he said.

According to Caines, staff were still on-duty at the Kenmount Road location to allow customers to pick up parcels, and anyone in need of retail service was advised to visit any of their other locations in the city, so there was no real impact on customers.