Negotiations Between Canada Post and CUPW Are Stalled
June 9, 2011
Latest offer put forward by the union is a step backward
Canada Post and CUPW remain far apart on several fundamental issues. The union today rejected major compromises proposed by Canada Post to address sick leave and staffing levels. CUPW also refuses to discuss any initiatives that will reduce costs and address the problems of declining mail volumes, increasing competition and electronic substitutions of traditional mail. After almost a week, the union has again rejected Canada Post's generous offer.
Throughout this round of labour negotiations, Canada Post has made every effort to protect the pay, pension and job security of existing employees. To do this the company has proposed adjusting its offering for employees hired in the future. Canada Post hopes to phase-in a new cost structure in the coming years. This is a fair and reasonable approach. It allows the company to provide current regular employees with the following:
- Annual wage increases that will bring the top wage rate to $26 an hour
- Continued job security
- No changes to a fully indexed Defined Benefit pension plan
- Comprehensive health benefits for employees and retirees
- Generous vacation leave that gives employees up to seven weeks off each year
For employees hired in the future, the company has proposed a starting wage of $19 an hour that rises to $26 an hour over seven years; up to six weeks vacation; and a fully indexed defined benefit pension by age 60. The package for new employees is superior to the wages and benefits offered by competing logistic and delivery companies. Equally important, these changes will help Canada Post manage labour costs that represent two-thirds of its revenues.
Every effort has been made to reach a negotiated settlement that is in the best interests of employees, customers and the company. Canada Post again reiterated that it is unable to move or accommodate the union's demands without jeopardizing the mail service that Canadians rely on.
The strike actions being orchestrated by the union are seriously damaging the financial viability of the company. The rotating strikes have damaged Canada Post and clouded the company's future. Volumes at Canada Post have fallen significantly since the union started rotating strikes on June 3. This decline in volumes comes at a time when the company is already struggling to address significant business challenges.