Negotiations between Canada Post and postal workers have been extended to the end of the weekend.
The Crown corporation issued a statement Wednesday evening saying the talks had been extended to 12:01 eastern, and that it was willing to submit to binding arbitration in a bid to ward off a work stoppage.
It comes after Canada Post issued a 72 hour lock out notice yesterday, which could have had workers off the the job by Friday.
This announcement comes after Canada Post said its latest offer presented on June 25th was fair, reasonable and that it still hoped to negotiate a deal with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
“Canada Post has notified the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) that it will be changing the terms and conditions of employment for all employees represented by the union starting Friday, July 8, 2016. The uncertainty caused by the prolonged negotiations and the union’s strike mandate is having a negative and escalating impact on the postal service.”
Postal workers have been without a contract since the beginning of the year, and were locked in tough negotiations over pay for rural posties, job security and pension structure.
The CUPW said in a statement that this is an effort to:
“drive them out onto the streets without pay in an effort to impose steep concessions on them.”
CUPW President Mike Palecek said in a statement:
“We knew this was their game all along. They are sabotaging the public review of the post office. They refused to negotiate fairly with us and now they ‘re locking the doors and will try to starve us into submission.”
Canada Post says as of Friday the terms and conditions of the current collective agreements will no longer apply, and under the new terms and conditions, employees will continue to receive their regular pay and some benefits.
Canada Post added that the issuing of the notice does not necessarily mean that they won’t be operating on Friday, but that it allows the Corporation to take measures that are necessary to respond to the changing business reality.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says a work stoppage would have a big impact on small business.
“There is still more than three quarters of our members who say they use Canada Post on a regular basis, and often it’s not for customers or clients, but the transactions that go on behind the scenes.”
The Federation’s B.C. and Alberta Vice-President Richard Truscott, says the crown corporation is shooting itself in the foot.
“Every time they do this , more and more businesses, more and more people, move their transactions, move their activities into other areas. It’s only doing Canada Post long-term damage every time there is a major disruption in service.”
The group also says Canada Post must act to address pension liabilities.