Postal strikes continue over weekend
Postal workers targeted Red Deer, Alta., over the weekend after a meeting Friday between Canada Post, union representatives and the federal labour minister failed to settle the ongoing strike.
In a statement after the meeting in Ottawa, Lisa Raitt said she asked each side to make concessions.
"I am requesting a sign of good will from both parties to immediately suspend the cost reduction measures and the rotating strike measures that have been taken lately by Canada Post and CUPW — Urban Operations Unit," the minister said. "I urge the parties to focus on the task at hand and reach a prompt agreement."
Raitt said Canadians and businesses are starting to feel the impact after eight days of rotating strikes by postal workers across Canada.
"The best solution in any dispute is one that the parties reach themselves," she said.
Following the meeting, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it had agreed to suspend strike activity, with its only condition that the terms of its collective agreement be reinstated.
But the union said Canada Post’s management rejected the offer. "This behaviour on the part of Canada Post Corporation is totally unacceptable," said Denis Lemelin, CUPW national president and chief negotiator, in a statement. "We are showing that we are willing to suspend our strike in good faith and with goodwill, as the minister requested. Once again, Canada Post is rejecting any of our efforts to resolve the issues."
Canada Post called the union's demand to reinstate the old collective agreement "completely unacceptable."
"By maintaining the uncertainty for customers and hurting our revenues, the union's proposal is tantamount to asking for full pay to remain on strike," said a Canada Post statement issued late Friday. "No company would accept that, especially with the damage already done to the business."
The union said negotiations are scheduled for Friday evening and will continue over the weekend. The meeting with Raitt came as 1,500 postal workers held strikes Friday in Quebec City and Kitchener, Ont.
Canada Post said contract talks have stalled as the two sides remain far apart on a number of issues, among them starting salaries and working conditions.
The Crown corporation has said the union is resisting efforts to cut costs and meet the challenge of declining mail volumes.
Canada Post said the Crown corporation's revenue and mail volumes are down since the first walkout last week. It also announced it will be cutting mail delivery to three days per week.
With files from The Canadian Press