(BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Arbitration deadline extended for postal carriers

The federal Labour Minister has granted an extension for the arbitration process in talks between Canada Post and the union that represents its mail carriers.

Last November, the federal government legislated postal carriers back to work after a series of country-wide rotating strikes to protest the failure of contract talks to reach a deal.

Since then, the postal workers have been on the job with no contract for over 18 months.

The rotating strikes began in October and threatened the delivery of packages in time for Christmas.

A release from Canada Post said, “There can be no legal work disruption during the arbitration process or during the life of the new collective agreements.” The arbitrator now has until the end of the year to deliver two agreements with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers working in urban and rural areas.

The union has filed a challenge against back to work legislation, but promised to hold off on any future job action so long as the arbitration process continued.

“We understand the labour disruption was extremely hard on our customers,” Canada Post said. “We are absolutely committed to rebuilding their trust and investing in the future.”

Over the next five years, Canada Post has pledged to invest more than $4 billion in its operations, including increasing parcel capacity, new equipment, and improving its online services.

“These investments include building a new parcel sorting plant in the [Greater Toronto Area] to add parcel capacity and handle growth in online shopping, and upgrades to other facilities and equipment across the country,” Canada Post said.

The labour dispute is over issues like the injury rate among postal workers and workers in Canada Post facilities, the creation of more full-time work, and equalizing pay between rural and urban carriers.