WATCH: The clock is ticking on a Canada Post strike and as Tess van Straaten reports, if a deal isn’t reached this weekend job action will start Monday.
A downtown Victoria post office on Yates Street is one of almost 500 across the country that Canada Post is hoping to close down to save money.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is also against the closures, which would mean the loss of up to 1,200 full-time jobs — including 12 positions on Southern Vancouver Island.
“These provide decent full-time jobs where the ones that are in pharmacies and stuff those clerks that work there are paid minimum wage and are privatized,” explains Janet Barney, CUPW Victoria Local 850 president.
It’s a key issue — in addition to pension changes and salaries for rural letter carriers — in the on-going Canada Post labour dispute, which has dragged on for months.
With contract talks stalled, the union issued 72-hour-strike notice on Thursday.
The unions says the job action would take the form of an overtime ban that would rotate between provinces.
“We want to continue to serve the public and deliver the mail,” Barney says. “Our mandate is not to shutdown the postal service but to put pressure on the government to come to the bargaining table.”
Canada Post issued a statement saying, “We remain committed to reaching agreements that are fair to our employees and allow us to continue to provide affordable pricing and service to Canadians.”
Union says Canada Post is penalizing employees for strike notice
But in response to the strike notice, the union says Canada Post is cancelling holidays and scaling back benefits.
“They’ve cancelled holidays and they’ve cut back maternity leave benefits, which is a huge one,” Barney says. “I think it’s pretty low that they would go after women on maternity leave.”
A special mediator — Toronto lawyer William Kaplan — has been appointed to work with the two sides this weekend.
But if a deal can’t be reached, job action will start Monday.