By David F. Rooney
A possible national disruption of postal service that could have begun Tuesday evening has been averted as Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers continued negotiating through the long weekend.
The earliest a strike can now occur is Friday.
The postponement of a strike was due to the union’s presentation of what CUPW President Denis Lemelin called “a global offer” to Canada Post on Sunday. Canada Post has agreed to respond to the offer.
“In this context the CUPW National Executive Board has decided not to submit a 72 hour strike notice today,” Lemelin said in a statement. “Consequently there will be no strike activity on May 27.”
Under the law, the union must issue a notice of its intention to strike 72 hours before its members can walk off the job.
For its part, Canada Post issued a statement saying it remains “committed to reaching a negotiated settlement that will protect postal services, minimize future postal rate increases, and improve employee wages.”
“It remains business as usual across our network,” its statement said.
The union’s 48,000 members voted 94.5 % in favour of a strike. They have been without a new contract since January 31 and even though their leaders have been negotiating with Canada Post since October 21, no agreement has been reached.
A conciliation period expired on May 3, after which there was a mandatory 21-day cooling-off period. This means Canada Post has the right to lock out its employees and CUPW has the right to strike as of midnight Tuesday.