Canada Posts implements lockout

“I got a call at a minute to 11 [Monday] night,” said Gerry Deveau, Ontario region’s director of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). “And I was told that the London Mail employees had just been locked out. It didn’t take long to figure out that these lockouts were happening across Canada.”

Canada Post locked out its workers on Tuesday, due to its standoff with CUPW. Canada Post officials are planning on implementing rollbacks on wages, pensions and other aspects of postal jobs and CUPW began striking in order to take a stand. However, the rotating strikes didn’t really seem to have a significant impact on the public.

But according to Deveau, the lock out will undoubtedly get people’s attention. ‘

“There are substantial amounts of mail in the plants that were ready to be shipped for today’s mail,” he said. “Now nothing can be sent and products are being denied to customers.”

Robert Pike, professor of sociology at Queen’s University said that he believes Cananda post has a case for striking, and that though the postal service is portrayed by the media and other outlets to be a dying industry, in actual fact they are a crucial business for Canadians.

“The lock out,” Pike said, “seemed to me to be a way of confirming the public’s opinion that the post isn’t necessary. But this really isn’t the case.”

Deveau’s opinion on the lock out was a move on their employers to involve the government and get postal workers back on the job.

“We’d prefer that the government not be involved.” Pike said. “We should be permitted to engage in free, collective bargaining without government influence.”

He continued to explain that with most government involvement, the bureaucracy tends to favour the employer, rather than the employees.

“It’s like playing in a rigged game,” Deveau said. “It’s like coming to a gun fight with a pea shooter. I mean, what’s the point of them [Canada Post] trying to negotiate with us, if the government will just do it for them?”

Pike lobbied some of the advantages of Canada post and explained why he felt they were an industry worth keeping alive.

“There is no doubt that with things like e-mail, Skype and Twitter, the roll of the post office has been reduced.” Pike said. “And yes, most post is for commercial use and letter mail flow is down. However, there also haven’t been any losses.”

He continued to explain that places like Northern Canada still use dial up internet and are much more reliant on the connections that Canada Post provides them. As well, he mentioned how dependant a business like Hallmark is on the postal service and how much of a nightmare the holiday seasons would be without the help of Canada Post.

“New technology has always replaced people,” Pike concluded. “However, it should be done in a gradual way and it shouldn’t involve cutting pension plans.”

CUPW representatives and employees of Canada Post will continue to lobby for no government interference as well as continue the standoff between themselves and Canada Post.

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