by Morinville News Staff

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is encouraging the postal service to find a solution to what they see as a growing pension problem and urging a quick settlement before any mail disruption.

Before Monday’s 72-hour notice of a postal lockout, the CFIB issued a letter to Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra calling for a settlement and noting pension costs must be lowered to ensure plans are sustainable and don’t force rate hikes or service cuts on customers.

“While Canada Post must take steps to address its pension liabilities, the threat of a prolonged work stoppage has many small business owners worried,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly in a release Tuesday. “There are a growing number of alternatives each year, but many small firms continue to rely on Canada Post for package delivery, invoicing clients and paying suppliers.”

Kelly added his opinion that Canadian taxpayers and Canada Post customers could no longer afford to pay for what he called “gold-plated pensions” that Canadian taxpayers could only dream of.

“Rather than accepting the new, generous pension arrangement, it seems bizarre that the postal union would not accept a generous offer and instead choose to disrupt their customers, motivating, even more, to look at alternatives, likely never to return to Canada Post,” Kelly said. ”

According to CFIB, more than 90 per cent of business owners say Canada Post’s delivery services are somewhat or very important to their business.

Canada Post announced Tuesday that as of Friday, July 8, the terms and conditions of the current collective agreements would no longer apply, and officially issued a 72-hour notice to the union.

The Crown corporation says nearly all of their largest e-commerce customers have already moved most or all of their parcel volumes to other carriers, resulting in a volume decline of at least 75 per cent from those customers.

Canada Post says parcels at the largest plants has dropped to the point where there are insufficient parcels to last an entire shift of processing, and that Lettermail is down in many facilities by as much as 50 per cent.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says they were not surprised by the lockout that was given to 50,000 workers.

“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,” said Mike Palecek, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

CUPW says it has been attempting to negotiate pay equity for its female-dominated workforce of rural carriers and stave off what the union says is “the profitable Crown Corporation’s demands for massive rollbacks.”

Canada Post says the issuing of the 72-hour notice does not necessarily mean that Canada Post will not be operating on Friday, but allow the Corporation to take measures that are necessary to respond to the changing business reality.

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