Canada Post locked out its unionized employees Tuesday after nearly two weeks of rotating strikes.
This latest move comes just days after the corporation decreased mail delivery service from five days a week to three in urban areas.
According to a Canada Post press release, mail volume has dropped by 50 per cent since the rotating strikes began, and the company’s losses are nearing $100 million.
The employer says concerns about moving the mail while keeping employees and customers safe have also been raised.
“We’re very disappointed in Canada Post,” said Canadian Union of Postal Workers local 740 president Cindy McDonnell. “They’ve essentially shut down communication for everyone in Canada. A lot of people don’t have e-mail.”
The union wasn’t issued any warning at all, she continued, noting workers were told they had 10 minutes to collect their belongings and get out of the building.
It’s clear the corporation is hoping for a settlement and wants the government to legislate employees back to work, added McDonnell.
Canada Post says the two sides are far apart in contract talks after seven months, but McDonnell insists the union is willing to work with their employer to work it out.
Main issues for the union include wages and changes to the sick leave plan.
McDonnell said unionized workers want to be at work, and not inconvenience the public. In fact, the union would like to see an expansion of services, not a reduction.
The union wants Canada Post to help combat mail theft by introducing door-to-door delivery service to homes which currently use community mail boxes. Mail theft is a problem in Mission, said McDonnell.
On Tuesday, Canada Post workers in Mission set up an information rally outside the main office on First Avenue, receiving lots of support from passing motorists honking their horns and pedestrians walking by.
Workers were out again Wednesday morning, after they were locked out.