Posties start rotating strike action in selected cities

Possible delays in Canada Post mail service due to job action

CUPW chief negotiator Denis Lemelin.



Unionized postal workers have begun rotating strikes after a midnight Thursday deadline passed without a negotiated agreement in their labour dispute with Canada Post.

Winnipeg was the first city selected for a 24-hour walkout, followed by Hamilton for 48 hours.

Mail and parcel deliveries may be delayed as a result of the strike, but federal pension and benefit cheques should still be delivered.

Elections BC has posted a list of locations on its website (www.elections.bc.ca)  where voters can drop off HST referendum ballots if they’re concerned about mail deliveries.

The ballots are supposed to be mailed out to households starting June 13 in most of rural B.C. and starting June 20 in the Lower Mainland. They must be received by Elections BC by July 22.

“We will continue to strike,” Canadian Union of Postal Workers chief negotiator Denis Lemelin said. “We will (also) continue to negotiate with Canada Post.”

The union had asked for wage hikes of 3.3 per cent in the first year and 2.75 per cent in each of the next three years.

Canada Post offered a four-year contract lifting pay 1.9 per cent in each of the first three years and 2.0 per cent in the fourth.

Postal workers currently make at least $23 an hour, however Canada Post wanted the starting wage for new hires to begin at $19 an hour.

Canada Post says it must address labour costs as a result of a 17 per cent drop in letter-mail business since 2006 due to a rise in online bill payments and other electronic communications.

Issues at the table include changing technology, job procedures and concessions on wages and benefits for new hires.

The last postal strike was in 1997 when posties walked out for two weeks before being legislated back to work.