Postal workers ready to strike Friday

  • Jun. 1, 2011 4:00 p.m.

You may not get your mail. And you might want to consider sending an email instead of a letter.

Postal workers across the country were poised to start striking (Friday) after issuing 72-hour strike notice on Monday while negotiations with Canada Post were ongoing.

“It’s not going at all,” said John Bail, national director of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ for the Pacific region, on the phone from Ottawa Tuesday where negotiations were taking place. “Our goal is not to disrupt anything. Our goal is to get a collective agreement, (and the) only way we have left is to put (Canada Post) under some pressure (by issuing strike notice).”

While small businesses, seniors and rural communities are expected to be hit hardest in the event of job action, British Columbians are on the verge of receiving a mail-in HST referendum which could be affected.

Don Main, communications manager with Elections B.C., which is administering the referendum, says they can adjust deadlines accordingly to ensure all residents have enough time to respond to the referendum.

“Should a postal strike occur, then Elections B.C. will look at when it happens in the process, at what point of the process we’re at in the referendum and how it’s affected,” he said. “We’ll make that decision when it happens.”

Janet Barney, president of CUPW Victoria, says all the mail for Greater Victoria is processed through the Glanford Avenue plant, which would be hardest hit in the event of a strike. The only mail that would go out would be social security, welfare and pension cheques.

According to Bail, the last time the CUPW went on strike was in 1997. That job action lasted two weeks until workers were legislated back.

The CUPW says Canada Post has made a profit every year for 15 years, but negotiations are stalling because the company wants to make cutbacks on such things as benefits and pensions.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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