The Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA) is sounding the alarm about what it describes as an impending reduction in operating hours for rural post offices.
Officials with the association, which represents Canada Post employees in rural post offices, said they recently received notice the corporation is “in the process of eliminating hours in Marystown, Lawn, Harbour Mille, St. Lawrence, Bay Roberts, Clarke’s Beach, Placentia, Freshwater, Dunville, Topsail and Trepassey.”
The association said there are also plans to eliminate Saturday hours of operation in Bay Roberts, Clarke’s Beach, Lawn, Harbour Mille, Topsail, Paradise, Freshwater and Placentia.
“If the hours and the Saturday operations are eliminated in these rural post offices, there will be a negative impact on the services as well as the earnings of affected employees, the majority of whom are women,” the CPAA stated in a news release.
“It will mean a loss of income, which is vital to the social and economic well-being of our communities.”
The association said Canada Post reduced hours in 67 post offices in this province in 2011 and more reductions are coming in 2012.
“What is new this year is Canada Post’s intention to close post offices on Saturday, thus downgrading our level of postal service,” the CPAA news release stated.
Canada Post spokeswoman Lori Lancaster confirmed a “proposal” has been conveyed to the CPAA. She said no decisions will be made until the association and the affected communities are consulted.
“There was some communication between Canada Post and the union, and this is part of this consultation process,” said Lancaster. “So I think this is the first step into that. The next step will be the consultation within the community.”
Lancaster couldn’t say when final decisions will be made.
Meanwhile, Lancaster said the proposals are the result of an ongoing analysis of the operations of all post offices across the country.
“We look at the volume of people that come into the post offices, and we look at the volume of mail. And then what we do is come back with proposals for consultations,” she explained.
“The post office is not what it used to be,” she added. “The way people are using it is changing. Folks are sending less letters and receiving more parcels. So it’s important for us to consistently review our operations to ensure we’re being efficient so we remain viable and strong, especially in rural communities, which are a priority for us.”
According to the 2010 annual report of Canada Post, domestic lettermail business decreased by 4.5 per cent from 2009, marking the fourth consecutive year-over-year decrease in domestic lettermail volumes.
Consolidated revenue from operations reached $7.5 billion in 2010, an increase of 1.9 per cent from 2009. The increase in revenue was mainly due to price increases.