Mail across the country could come to a halt next Wednesdayif Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) are unable toreach an agreement before then.
The 54,000 postal workersare eligible to strike at midnight on May 24, but must provide 72 hours’ noticeof their intention to do so.
The union is rejecting yesterday’s latest four-year contractoffer from Canada Post. The offer contains a wage increase of 1.75 per cent in eachof the first two years, a 1.9 per cent increase in the third and a 2.0 per centincrease in the final year. However, Canada Post is still seeking to cut downon sick leave days from the Short Term Disability arrangements. New employeeswill also be hired under a new wage scale that will take seven years to reachthe maximum rate.
CUPW has agreed to continue to deliver cheques to pensionersand social assistance recipients should a strike take place. Volunteers fromthe union will deliver Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Child Benefitscheques, as well as provincial social assistance cheques in Quebec, Ontario,Saskatchewan, Alberta and the North West Territories.
The two parties have been bargaining with the aid of agovernment-appointed conciliator over wages, benefits, pensions and retireebenefits. The postal workers have been without a contract since Jan. 20, 2011and, last month, voted 94.5 per cent in favour of striking if the two partiesweren’t unable to reach a tentative agreement
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