July 22, 2024

Canada Suspends Mail Delivery After Strikes

The move followed 12 days of strikes by members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers that rotated through various cities. The post office, in a statement, said that the union’s action had cost it about 100 million Canadian dollars and prompted the closing.

“The accelerating decline in volumes and revenue combined with the inability to deliver mail on a timely and safe basis has left the company with no choice but to make this decision,” the government-owned postal service said in a statement.

Gerry Deveau, the union’s national director for Ontario, told The Canadian Press news agency that the lockout was anticipated.

He added that the union believes that the lockout is the government’s attempt to “legislate us back to work and legislate some type of unfavorable collective agreement on to us.”

On Tuesday, Lisa Raitt, the federal labor minister, ruled out back-to-work legislation for the postal strikes, although a shutdown of the system may change the government’s position.

Rural postal workers are covered by a separate contract and remain at work. But the overwhelming majority of Canada’s mail originates in cities and is sorted at now-closed urban processing hubs.

As is the case with Air Canada, where customer service employees went on strike early Tuesday, a main point of contention in the negotiations has been attempts by the post office to reduce its pension liabilities. Canada Post currently has a pension deficit of 3.2 billion Canadian dollars.

Like all postal services, the rise of the Internet has brought about a corresponding decline in Canada Post’s business. But for many companies that use it to ship parcels, the shutdown of Canada’s mail system poses particular problems.

Canada has a comparatively small population, roughly one-tenth that of the United States, that is spread out over a vast area, and Canada Post is the only service that delivers to all parts of the country.

Parcel delivery rates charged by competitors, including the Canadian subsidiaries of United Parcel Service and Federal Express, are generally higher than their American prices and often substantially higher than Canada Post’s rates.

Since the rotating postal strikes began, however, there have been reports that other parcel delivery firms have been offering some shippers low rates in a bid to permanently lure them away from the post office.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=7e3badec85b3bc364fa83b2a5785fd6f

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