Postal workers stamped out
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Legislation tabled in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon will send postal employees back to work without a fully negotiated collective agreement.
The federal government has ruled to continue postal services while imposing a mediation-arbitration process to resolve matters remaining in dispute between parties.
The director of federal mediation and conciliation services, Warren Edmondson, was brought into talks with Canada Post Corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers on Nov. 24 as a special mediator in the hope both parties would resolve their differences.
Edmondson said he did not see any short term resolve in sight and as such, the politicians had to make a decision. "Both sides said they wanted an agreement but I don't believe either party was ready."
Although Canada Post was unavailable for comment, president of CUPW Darrell Tingley said this legislation puts an arbitration process in place but essentially ties the hands of arbitrators.
"The government gets what they want, Canada Post get what they want the only losers are the postal workers." The union will study the bill tomorrow and make an informed decision on future action.
Jim Morris, president of the CUPW London local chapter, said this ruling is not really a recent announcement since the threat of back-to-work legislation has hung over negotiations from the beginning and has effectively harmed talks.
"When the mandate review was done, [the government] said they would screw us and they are on the verge of completing it."
Morris said despite this recent outcome, the local London chapter of CUPW intend to continue the fight in whatever capacity despite this recent outcome.
CUPW originally asked for a six per cent increase over two years plus a cost of living allowance. The total amounted to a 10 per cent wage hike.
Canada Post countered with a 1.5 per cent increase in 1997, 1.75 next year and two per cent in 1999. The government is now imposing a three-year deal with an increase of 1.5 per cent in 1998, followed by 1.75 per cent in 1999 and 1.9 per cent in 2000.
Issues left for the arbitrator to deal with include staffing levels, route restructuring and mail delivery.