Crown corporation will eliminate thousands of jobs
Craig Dyer was on his mail route Wednesday when he learned Canada Post is saying goodbye to the door-to-door postman
A Canada Post letter carrier braves the cold in this Telegram file photo.
It’s huge,” said Dyer, the chief shop steward with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Local 126 in St. John's.
The national mail service says rising costs and falling mail volumes have made it impossible to continue its traditional operations.
The federal Crown corporation plans to phase out home delivery within the next five years, replacing foot delivery with community mail- boxes.
Mike McDonald, local president for the postal workers’ union, said the union’s national president was only given a half hour’s notice of the radical announcement. It’s not known how many jobs will be affected in this province.
But McDonald fears the federal government is setting up the postal service to be privatized and subject to multinational bids under the Canada-European Trade Agreement.
He said Canada Post spent billions on equipment and vehicles and “now all of a sudden the sky is falling and there’s no money.”
“This plan was unrolled without addressing the union,” he said, adding workers don’t deserve to be bullied and threatened even if technology is changing, prompting more people to opt for electronic bills and statements.
“It’s been a slap in the face, really.”
Canada Post says about 6,000 to 8,000 positions will be eliminated over the same time period, mainly through attrition.
The postal service expects nearly 15,000 employees to retire or leave the company in the next five years.
About a third of Canadian homes still receive mail to their door, it said.
The announcement comes in the midst of the busiest time of year for postal outlets, which handle a dramatic rise in both letters and packages for the Christmas holiday.
But the corporation says its business model is unsustainable.
“Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses,” it said in the announcement.
“If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers.”
Last month, Canada Post announced that it would ask Ottawa for financial relief next year to help support a restructuring of its business model and pension plan framework to assure long-term financial sustainability.
“The company will continue to bring the cost of labour in line with its competitors through attrition and collective bargaining over time,” it added on Wednesday.
The postal service has faced intense competition from couriers, as well as technology that has led to a growing popularity of consumers paying their bills and communicating online.
In the third quarter, Canada Post reported an improved, but still big, pre-tax loss of $109 million for the period ended Sept. 28. The pre-tax loss in the comparable period a year ago was $145 million.