Yesterday, Canada Post advised the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) it 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 Minister of Employment, Workforce and Labour MaryAnn Mihychuk to appoint a conciliator in each negotiation.
“We are taking this step because while the parties have been meeting since late 2015, we are not seeing progress on key issues,” reads the press release. “In both cases, we hope that a neutral party can stimulate constructive discussion and accelerate the negotiations process.”
The collective agreement between Canada Post and CUPW-RSMC expired on Dec. 31, 2015, and the agreement with CUPW-Urban expired on Jan. 31, 2016. For now, the terms and conditions of both agreements continue to apply.
“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,” added the release.
The CUPW responded saying Canada Post’s request for conciliation is a “cynical attempt to provoke a labour dispute” early in its negotiation process with the union.
“This is unprecedented in our history,” said Mike Palecek, CUPW national president. “Canada Post has not even finished giving us their demands and they are already preparing to push matters to a head.”
The list of concessions demanded by the Crown corporation includes “hefty rollbacks on pensions, benefits and job security,” said Palecek, who added Canada Post’s negotiators have refused to consider any of the union’s proposals, including ideas for service expansion and pay equity for the female-dominated rural carriers.
“In June 2011, Deepak Chopra had no scruples about shutting down the postal system and locking workers out,” said Palecek. “These Harper appointees want to break our union at any cost, with no regard for the public and the services they rely on.”
The union also points out that a postal review is in the works and that Canada Post’s actions could interfere with that process.
“Canada Post should be preparing for public consultations about the future of the post office,” said Palecek, “not declaring war on its workers.”