Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers walk the picket lines Tuesday outside the Glanford Avenue Canada Post plant.

Postal workers strike stalls Glanford plant

  • Jun. 8, 2011 9:00 a.m.

By the time the Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ rotating strike hit Victoria Tuesday, Canada Post mail volumes had already decreased by half since the job action began.

After seven months of contract negotiations with the Crown corporation, 600 of the 48,000-member-union walked off the job in Victoria for 24-hours on June 7, four days after the first strike in Ottawa. The dispute centred around starting wages, short-term disability and staffing issues.

Greater Victoria workers aimed to highlight quality service to the public and health and safety standards for workers amidst Canada Post’s modernization plans, said John Bail, national director for the Pacific Region for CUPW.

“That’s the theme of the Victoria pickets,” Bail said.

“There’s no need for their concession demands,” he added, quoting the $281-million profit Canada Post had in 2009.

Despite a monopoly on letter mail, Canada Post reports a 17 per cent decline in the volume sent in the last five years.

“People don’t send mail anymore and, in fact, many of the mass mailers are switching over to online services,” Canada Post spokesperson Anick Losier said.

On Monday, Canada Post rejected CUPW’s counter offer to the corporation’s latest collective agreement. Canada Post did not agree to the terms – a decision Losier said was based on the the high cost in a market where private companies are now competing for business.

“Our volumes that were already on the decline are tanking, literally,” she said. “We’ve seen a 50 per cent decline in the past week. On a normal day we would do 35- to 40-million pieces of mail, now we’re half of that and even lower.”

Adding to the “serious revenue crunch,” she says, the Canada Post pension plan faces a $3-billion deficit.

Last fall, restructuring resulted in the loss of 30 clerk positions at the Victoria processing plant on Glanford Avenue. Mail from the plant is now sent to Vancouver for automated sorting and sent back to Victoria. Canada Post maintains job security is included in the current negotiations between chief negotiator Denis Lemelin, national CUPW president and Canada Post’s Mark MacDonell.

Meanwhile, Bail offers little assurance that a general strike won’t soon be on the way for those who do rely on the service.

“We decide our strategies on a daily basis,” he said. “There are no guarantees.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Over 200 lives saved in first year at Victoria’s supervised consumption site

The Harbour celebrates its first anniversary with a report of zero deaths on site

Celebrate 50 years of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ and the Apollo 11 moonlanding

‘Ground control to Major Tom’ the countdown is on the 50th anniverary of the moon landing

Views, brews and food on Gulf Islands craft beer cruise

Five day cruise from Sidney to Gulf Islands, includes chef and beer historian

Researchers head out from Sidney to explore Canada’s largest underwater volcano

The Explorer Seamount is as large as Greater Vancouver and full of previously undiscovered species

Victoria businesses remain plastic-bag free, despite court ruling

Business association says no one has inquired into re-establishing the use of plastic bags

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Most Read