Canada Post workers grudgingly back to work in Victoria

Small businesses ‘not hurt,’ by postal strike, mail ‘not piling up,’ says union

Canada Post’s distribution centre on Glanford Avenue was busy on Tuesday morning as the postal workers rotating strikes came to an end.

David Hibbert, a Victoria postal worker of 12 years, laments the Liberal government’s reaction to force the unionized members back to work, calling it a masterfully played game by Canada Post administration.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers obliged, asking all workers to return to regular duty as of noon. The last time this happened was 2011 and before that, 1997.

“This whole situation was engineered by the corporation,” Hibbert said. “We’ve been out of a contract for a year, and they could have negotiated ahead of that. There wasn’t an offer until we started the rotating strike, this is engineered to get us forced back to work, it’s a plotted-out plan to get the public against us, they need to show it’s a crisis situation to legislate us back to work. It’s all part of a master plan.”

Read More: ‘We will fight in court if back to work legislation passes,’ postal union warns

That “plan” uses the hectic holiday season, and the modern day spike in parcel deliveries from online purchases, that comes with it, Hibbert said.

“We used to have mail service couriers handling the parcels, about 80 a day, now we have letter carriers doing more than 100 parcels a day plus their route,” Hibbert said. “It’s twice the work than what we used to do, all pushed into one.”

On top of that, parcels are getting heavier, and working beyond an eight-hour day has become commonplace, Hibbert added.

Jessica Dempster, president of the CUPW local 850, said the union is extremely disappointed.

“We wanted to negotiate a collective agreement, and to do it by using our charter rights to bargain,” Dempster said. “Disappointment might even be an understatement. We want to negotiate directly, not with an arbitrator that doesn’t know the business.”

Dempster said the union expected a different approach from the Liberal government, one which cancelled the Conservative government’s conversion of door-to-door service in 2015.

“We were happy that they saved the end of door-to-door delivery, but we weren’t happy they didn’t turn around and restore the regions that had been converted [such as Sidney], which they said they would do,” she said.

In the meantime, there is little evidence that the local post offices are behind.

“I heard someone in the senate saying there’s trailers just sitting there, but any trailers we have sitting there are from Nov. 22,” Dempster said. “I’m not seeing piles of overdue mail.”

“We striked to put Canada Post on its toes. We’re not hurting small businesses.”

reporter@saanichnews.com

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