Postal workers were ready to begin a ban on overtime this Monday morning, but late last night the Canadian Union of Postal Workers announced a delay of 24 hours.
“We’ve amended our notice in a last-ditch effort to reach a negotiated agreement before we are forced to start working to rule,” said Mike Palecek, national president of CUPW, in a release.
After issuing a 72-hour strike notice last Thursday, the union spent the weekend in talks with Canada Post and a special mediator, but appeared to make little headway.
The union says it extended its strike notice at the request of the mediator. It had planned to carry out a rolling overtime ban, where postal workers in selected provinces and territories would have refused to work overtime.
Despite nine months of negotiations between CUPW and Canada Post, key issues continue to divide the two sides.
One such issue is pensions. The union wants all workers to have a defined benefit pension, where they can be certain of how much they are going to get upon retirement. Canada Post wants new employees to have a defined contribution pension, which comes with no guarantees as to payments upon retirement.
The union also wants pay equity for rural and suburban mail carriers, arguing that they do same work as letter carriers. Because most rural and suburban mail carriers are women, the union argues that this is also a gender issue.
“Postal workers are more than ready to take action for pay equity, pensions and decent jobs if that’s what it takes but we’ll keep talking if there’s a chance to settle this peacefully,” said Palacek.