Canada Post workers waiting for wage increase and back pay

Company says payment to be rendered upon delivery of arbitrator’s decision

The union representing Canada Post employees says the postal company is withholding retroactive salary increases and back pay awarded when postal workers were legislated back to work in June 2011.

UPDATE: Canada Post workers will receive salary increase and back pay: Canada Post president

The union 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 argues 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.

In an update to union members, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Denis Lemelin, said that he wrote to Canada Post president Deepak Chopra explaining this decision was penalizing workers.

“Failure to make these payments would have a direct and negative impact on employees and their families,” Lemelin wrote. “The decision is now up to Mr. Chopra.”

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 Osborne was appointed as arbitrator to negotiate the details of the contract between Canada Post and CUPW. The judge has 90 days to choose between either the union’s or management’s final offer.

The two parties were to meet with the arbitrator for the first time via conference call on Aug. 11, 2011, but because the union’s lawyer was unable to attend, the meet was rescheduled for Aug. 16, 2011.

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