After more than ten months of negotiations, the intervention of two mediators and two weeks of rotating strikes, Canada Post is more and more showing its true colours. All of its lofty rhetoric and the image it is attempting to project to its employees and the public are turning out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
It needs to be said: Canada Post talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.
Canada Post says publicly it doesn’t promote precarious work, and would rather keep regular jobs and even create more of them. It also claims to care about the overburdening of letter carriers. As for RSMCs, Canada Post professes to look favourably on the arbitration decision that grants them pay equity.
But its proposals at the bargaining table are very different. Here are just two examples:
Many letter carriers are exhausted and calling out for help because they are overburdened and often have to work forced overtime on their route. They absolutely need help. Your negotiating committee has submitted proposals to address this situation that Canada Post continues to reject. In its global offers dated September 7 and October 3, it made demands that seek to increase its ability to use precarious workers, without even trying to solve the workload issue.
Instead of working towards a solution, Canada Post is pulling back even more and taking harder positions. It wants to be able to hire an unlimited number of temporary, on-call, “disposable” employees and assign them all the work it wants in peak periods, i.e. for three months of the year, all the while ignoring letter carriers who need help. These on-call employees might have to work more than 40 hours a week with no overtime pay, and would be let go when the peak period is over.
RSMCs have obtained recognition of their right to pay equity. By claiming today that it’s happy with this result, Canada Post is trying to give its human rights record a facelift. Indeed, for years management has deprived RSMCs of the right to compensation equivalent to that of the male-dominated comparison group of letter carriers. CPC even denied that RSMCs could be compared to letter carriers.
In 2016, thanks to your determination, Canada Post was forced to accept an expedited pay equity review process. What CPC forgets to say is that, at every step of the process, they have challenged tooth and nail the right of RSMCs to be fairly compensated.
Now that this right has been fought for and won, Canada Post is trying to turn it into a shell as empty as the so-called “job security” it offers RSMCs, by refusing to commit to protecting their working hours with guaranteed minimum hours of work, such as those of the urban letter carriers. CPC also continues to exploit RSMCs by refusing to commit to paying them for all hours worked beyond the number of hours assessed for their route.
Despite the rhetoric and the clever communication campaigns, based on the proposals made at the bargaining table, the true face of Canada Post is looking more and more like the face of previous administrations.