The union representing postal workers said it has presented Canada Post with new offers, and workers won’t be striking before Wednesday.
Provided the Canadian Union of Postal Workers gives 72 hours notice, 50,000 of its members are legally allowed to strike starting Saturday; Canada Post is also allowed to lock out its workers.
But CUPW representatives said the union hasn’t presented its notice.
“I’m concerned whenever work stops,” said Saskatoon NDP MP, Sheri Benson. “I’m also concerned that negotiations have lagged so long with both sides.”
The union and Canada Post both said the No.1 sticking point in negotiations involves changes to employee pension plans.
“Both sides need to get to the table because we want people working,” said Benson. “We want people to get their mail.”
Canada Post tabled new contract proposals a week ago, and on Friday, the union came forward with a counter-offer.
“We may be called back to Ottawa to deal with this,” said Saskatoon Conservative MP, Kevin Waugh. “The two sides are really far apart and that’s unfortunate.”
The union is proposing wage hikes, and rejecting Canada Post’s suggestion that new employees get a pension plan that operates like an RRSP, called defined contribution, instead of the defined benefit plan for current employees that guarantees a set level of retirement benefits.
“We understand the new workers want the same benefits as those who could be Grandfathered, but really we need to get back to the table,” Waugh said. “The disruption will hurt everybody in this country.”
The last time Canada Post experienced a work stoppage was in 2011, which included 10 days of rotating strikes and a lockout before employees were legislated back to work by Ottawa.
– With files from The Canadian Press.