Nova Scotia

Canada Post extended walkout ends in the Halifax area

Workers in the Halifax area walked off the job Monday but were expected to return to the job Thursday morning. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers began rotating strikes in late October, with each strike lasting 24 hours in each local.

No word on how long rotating strike will last

Canada Post workers walk the picket line as a rotating strike continued in Halifax on Tuesday. Union negotiators say there was little progress during the two-and-a-half weeks that a special mediator was assigned to the Canada Post labour dispute. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Canada Post workers in the Halifax area walked off the job Monday but were expected to return to the job Thursday morning. 

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers began rotating strikes in late October, with each strike lasting 24 hours in each local.

But the latest, extended rotating strike is indicative of how talks are going with Canada Post, said the union.

"Based on the fact that negotiations have not been going well with Canada Post, the national union felt we needed to put more pressure on Canada Post to negotiate," said Mike Keefe, a retail postal clerk and first vice-president of Nova Local, which represents 600 members.

Other areas, such as Moncton, Toronto and Vancouver, have also had rotating strikes in the last a number of days.

Unclear when delivery starts up again

Canada Post made a new limited-time offer to employees to end the strikes Wednesday.

The Canadian Press reported the Crown corporation's four-year offer includes an annual two per cent wage hike, plus a signing bonus of up to $1,000 per employee. Unionized workers have until Saturday to accept the deal.

"The strike action is still rotating strikes so it is possible we could be back on the job [Thursday], but we wanted to let everybody know that until further notice there would no mail processed and no mail delivered in HRM," Keefe said.

Pressuring Canada Post to negotiate

Keefe, who has worked for Canada Post for 34 years, said the union wants supporters of postal workers to contact the prime minister and their member of Parliament to pressure the Crown corporation to negotiate.

"The union feels that the only action for the government left to take is to introduce back-to-work legislation and that sort of rewards Canada Post for not bargaining seriously for the last 12 months," said Keefe.

The major issue for unionized workers, Keefe said, has to do with health, safety, and wage and benefit equality.

Public support

Keefe said workers in Halifax have been getting a lot of support from the public, with people honking their horns and bringing food and coffee.

"It used to be when you'd go on the picket line and somebody blew the horn, usually they were giving you the one-fingered salute while they were doing it," Keefe said.

"And this time it's much more thumbs up, it's much more positive. And that's why morale is pretty good on the picket line."

About the Author

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.

With files from The Canadian Press