FORTY CANADA Post employees were locked out of the office in Terrace this morning.
Fern George, president of Local 836, said the call came last night.
“As of 8 o’clock last night, they decided to lock us out,” she said.
George said the Canada Post Corporation is trying to force the Canadian Union of Postal workers to a full blown strike so workers can be legislated back to work.
“We want equality to all,” George said. “We want fairness and we want to expand our service and improve our customer service, and we want our pensioners to retire with dignity.”
The company has reduced mail service to customers by cutting back from a five day letter mail delivery to three days a week.
Instead of cutting jobs and piling up work, George said profits should be rolled back into the community to expand services.
This office delivers mail to Terrace and the outlying areas like Kitwanga, Meziadin Junction, Stewart, and the Nass Valley.
George says there’s no saying how long this lockout will be.
“If we had it our way, we’d still be out delivering,” she said, adding that they want to resume delivery; the union is willing to work during the negotiation process as long as talks are progressing.
“It’s just out of our control,” George said. “Right now we’re just waiting to see what will happen.”
There are around 20 employees walking around the building on Emerson St. and Lazelle Ave. holding signs and placards that say “Locked out by Canada Post Corporation” and “CUPW wants to work and deliver your mail but Canada Post Corporation has locked us out.”
Canada Post says the lockout is the best way to bring about a timely resolution and force the union to seriously consider proposals that address the declining mail volumes and $3.2 billion pension deficit.
Rotating strikes have been carried out throughout the country for the last 12 days, and Canada Post announced it was suspending operations across the country in a press release last night.
“The accelerating decline in volumes and revenue combined with the inability to deliver mail on a timely and safe basis has left the company with no choice but to make this decision,” it reads.
It noted that the rotating strikes have significantly impacted the short-term revenue of the business, and estimated losses are approaching $100 million.
It also says Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers are still divided on several fundamental issues and there has been no progress made at the negotiating table for weeks.