Canada Post has issued a lockout notice to mail carriers effective Friday, July 8, 2016.
The notice comes on the heels of negotiations between the crown corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) for a new collective bargaining agreement, which has been in the works since late last year.
The situation has escalated from both sides, with the CUPW voting for a strike mandate, while Canada Post has tabled a contract that the company calls a 'final offer.'
"The uncertainty caused by the prolonged negotiations and the union's strike mandate is having a negative and escalating impact on the postal service," read a Canada Post news release.
Mike Paleck, the president of the CUPW, lamented the move by Canada Post.
"We knew this was their game all along," Paleck said. "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."
In a news release, Canada Post says that just because a lockout notice has been issued doesn't mean that the service won't be operating on Friday.
In issuing the notice, Canada Post says the terms and conditions of the current collective agreement will no longer apply starting on Friday. Under new company-imposed terms and conditions, employees will receive regular pay and some benefits, such as applicable prescription drug coverage. It also allows the company to adjust staffing according to the amount of work required.
The CUPW, with 50,000 members across Canada, is charging that Canada Post is attempting to impose steep concessions on employees.
“We will not be bullied by a corporation that is supposed to be providing people with public service, that is raking in millions in profits every year, and that is willfully and needlessly waging war upon tens of thousands of workers and their families,” said Palecek.
The two sides have been locked in negotiations over wage increases and benefits plans. A collective bargaining agreement between Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC) expired at the end of 2015, while an agreement with the urban section of the CUPW expired on Jan. 31, 2016.
The last lockout by Canada Post was in 2011, however, the Conservative government at the time passed back to work legislation that has now been ruled unconstitutional.