Canada Post rotating strikes return to B.C.

Canada Post workers resumed rotating strikes across B.C. this weekend, walking off the job Friday at an important processing hub near Vancouver International Airport.

Outside the Pacific Processing Centre in Richmond, about 70 CUPW Vancouver local members picketed Saturday. Canada Post said in a customer update that the centre is a key processing hub for mail and parcels in Canada, and the strike is expected to have a “significant impact” on operations while causing more backlog of trailers.

Anju Parmar, the third vice-president for the CUPW Vancouver local, said more than 1,600 people worked at the 24-hour processing centre but are now taking shifts on the picket line, including some overnight.

Striking postal workers walk the picket line at the Canada Post Pacific Processing Centre in Richmond on Saturday. The rotating strike, in effect since Oct. 22, has affected mail delivery across the country. Negotiations continue.

The union representing 50,000 workers across the country and the postal service have not yet reached new collective agreements for a pair of bargaining units after 10 months of negotiations.“I just want the public to know that we don’t want any impact on customers,” said Parmar, who has worked for Canada Post for 26 years.

“But we don’t have any choice, right? Basically, Canada Post is not budging on anything, so this is the only option we have now.”

Parmar does not know how long the rotating strikes will last.

CUPW also began job action this weekend in Creston, Elk Valley, Golden, Grand Forks, Kimberley, Kitimat, Powell River, Prince Rupert, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Smithers, Sunshine Coast and Terrace, as well as in Whitehorse, Yukon, according to Canada Post.

Strikes continue in Kamloops and in Quebec, while others ended in Cranbrook, Penticton, Quesnel, Vernon and Williams Lake.

Canada Post said in its customer update that it “has made significant offers to CUPW that include increased wages, job security, and improved benefits, and it has not asked for any concessions in return.”

A mediator’s contract was extended by four days from Nov. 7-10 in order to help the two parties reach a resolution.

“We value the relationship with the union and have been able to find common ground on some issues,” Canada Post said. “We have also committed to work together to address employees’ workload concerns caused by parcel growth, additional financial services and going beyond pay equity for rural and suburban employees by extending job security and moving to one uniform for all delivery employees.”

Yogesh Sharma, a shop steward and forklift driver at the Pacific Processing Centre, said it was important to support his union and show the public and his employer that workers need to fight for a fair contract.

“We are looking for a fair contract,” said the Canada Post employee of 15 years. “You know how expensive it is all over the nation. Inflation is very high and our buying power is less … we want to feed our families.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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