As a labour dispute affecting 50,000 postal workers continued to simmer Friday, Canada Post seized an olive branch extended by CUPW.
The union proposed a 30-day cooling-off period to address Canada Post concerns about business uncertainty and give negotiations a chance to succeed; the corporation accepted with a caveat.
“We are fully prepared to negotiate intensively for the next 30 days under an extended cooling-off period to reach negotiated settlements,” Canada Post stated on its website. “However, if the parties are unable to successfully conclude negotiations within that period, both parties must agree to binding arbitration.
The union has offered to drop an unfair labour practices complaint filed against Canada Post if management agrees to the union’s proposal, calling the gesture a sign of good faith.
“Our members, their families and all Canadians do not deserve to have this threat of a lockout looming over our heads from a profitable public service,” said Mike Palecek, national CUPW president. “Postal workers want to work and people need to know that it’s safe to use the mail system.”
Canada Post and the union have been in discussions since late 2015, with 60 days of conciliation and almost 30 more days with federal mediators, yet the parties remain far apart on key issues.
Still viewing a postal service disruption as a possibility, the provincial government announced special arrangements Friday.
British Columbians who receive government funds by direct deposit will not be affected by the labour action and will continue to receive their payments.
For those who typically receive payments by regular mail such as income and disability assistance, childcare subsidies, or critical documents such as Residential Tenancy Branch information, arrangements will be made to enable cheques or documentation to be picked up at the respective local ministry, local agency or Service B.C. office.
Information about where to pick up B.C.-government-issued assistance cheques, where and how to make a payment, getting B.C.-government-issued ID, licences and certificates, and how to apply for a B.C. student loan during a Canada Post labour disruption can be found at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/postal-service-disruption-information.
B.C. Mail Plus, which provides mail distribution services for provincial ministries, the broader public sector and publicly-funded agencies, is working to ensure critical mail in the form of parcels, small packets and letter mail that must be delivered within a specific timeframe will be distributed via non-affected courier companies.
B.C. Mail Plus will hold all non-critical mail until Canada Post resumes normal service.