‘A modest step in the right direction’: Canada Post president
Canada Post employees will be receiving retroactive salary increases and back pay that had been withheld from them when the workers were legislated back to work in June 2011.
Canada Post president Deepak Chopra has overturned the decision made by the Canada Post labour relations department not to implement the wage increases and retroactive payments until the arbitration process is completed. As a result, postal workers should receive the retroactive payments on Sept. 29, 2011.
In a letter to the Union, Chopra said that he hoped this will be “a modest step in the right direction to quickly conclude the final arbitration process.”
Earlier this week, CUPW wrote to Canada Post’s chief negotiator, Mark MacDonell, asking when employees could expect the increases. A response from MacDonell stated that the payments would be implemented when the arbitrator’s decision is rendered.
The union argued that, while the back-to-work legislation imposed a specific wage increase, there was nothing in the law that prevented Canada Post from implementing the salary change immediately.
Postal workers were legislated back to work when the federal government enacted Bill C-6, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of postal services. The CUPW started rotating strikes to back contract demands in early June 2011, leading to a lockout by Canada Post later that month, shutting the mail service down. The government said the lockout needed to end because of the threat to the national economy.
The legislation forced a new deal between the two parties that included set pay increases at less than what Canada Post had already offered the union.
Last month, Honourable Justice Coulter Arthur Osborne was appointed as arbitrator to negotiate the details of the contract between Canada Post and CUPW.
The union has indicated they will be formally challenging the government’s selection of Justice Osborne as arbitrator before Aug. 22, 2011.