Volume 91, Issue 51

Thursday, November 27, 1997

Mike the Knife


Talks as slow as the mail

By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Gazette Staff

The government is still not prepared to introduce back-to-work legislation as it hopes mediator Warren Edmondson will be able to help both sides come to a collective agreement.

Kristin Brule, press secretary to Minister of Labour Lawrence MacAulay, said the willingness shown by both Canada Post Corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in accepting the offer of a mediator is promising.

Brule said the Minister has not yet decided how much time he will give both parties to come to an agreement but the strike is only a week old and MacAulay hopes to do everything he can to assist them. "There is no doubt a negotiated agreement would be best," she said.

Although Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano announced over the weekend the government might intervene, Brule said MacAulay is the only person with the authority to implement back-to-work legislation.

A mediator has been meeting with both parties separately over the past 48 hours yet the media black-out on talks has prohibited participating members from discussing the details of these discussions.

Jean-Maurice Filion, a spokesperson for Canada Post, said the corporation is hoping the use of a mediator will bring both sides to a speedy settlement.

Although reports from the other side seem to show a different story. Chris Lawson, a communications specialist for the union, said talks are moving slowly. "A deal is still possible."

A survey published by Canadian Press projects businesses are losing close to $200 million every day workers continue striking. General issues being discussed by both sides include the conversion of part-time jobs to full-time status, job security, job cuts and wages.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997