November 14, 2018 1:40 pm
Updated: November 14, 2018 5:29 pm

Canada Post issues ‘time-limited’ offer to workers amid historic backlog of parcels

Canada Post workers are walking the picket outside the huge sorting facility in Richmond today. Their job action continuing as both sides return to the negotiating table -- even though the mediator's mandate expired this weekend. Neetu Garcha has the latest.

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Canada Post has issued what it calls a “time-limited” contract offer to its employees in hopes of ending rotating strikes that have created a historic backlog of undelivered parcels.

The offer came just hours after online sales and auctioning giant eBay called on the federal government to legislate an end to the Canada Post contract dispute.

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READ MORE: Canada Post’s rotating strikes: Everything you need to know about it

The Crown corporation’s four-year offer, provided to The Canadian Press, includes annual two-per-cent wage hikes, plus signing bonuses of up to $1,000 per employee.

The $650-million proposal also includes new job-security provisions, including for rural and suburban carriers who have complained about precarious employment, and a $10-million health-and-safety fund.

But Canada Post says it’s only affordable if it can be agreed to before the holiday shopping rush, so it has imposed a deadline of Saturday, Nov. 17 for Canadian Union of Postal Workers members to accept the deal.

WATCH: Rotating Canada Post strikes return to Metro Vancouver

The prime minister warned last week that his government would look at “all options” to bring the labour dispute to an end if there was no significant progress in Canada Post’s contract talks with the union.

The eBay plea, contained in a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, came as the postal service said recent rotating strikes by its employees have resulted in a historic backlog of undelivered parcels and packages.

“I encourage the government to explore all available legislative solutions to alleviate the current situation,” eBay’s general manager of Canada and Latin America operations, Andrea Stairs, wrote in the letter, which was also sent to Labour Minister Patty Hajdu and Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough.

READ MORE: Canadian postal workers strike could be a long one, according to union official

Continued rotating strikes at Canada Post will result in significant losses for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across the country, Stairs warned, noting that smaller businesses are unable to negotiate lower shipping fees with other delivery services.

While many businesses have adapted as best they can to the strikes that began Oct. 22, Stairs said adjustments online sellers have made so far to avoid delivery disruptions are unsustainable.

WATCH: Rotating Canada Post strikes hit Fredericton processing plant

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are critical sales opportunities for Canadian small and micro retailers, particularly those that sell into the U.S. – the largest consumer market in the world,” she wrote.

“Should the Canada Post service disruptions continue through this key retail moment, these SMBs will be seriously disadvantaged in competing for U.S. demand.”

“Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are major days for shopping discounts, tied to American Thanksgiving. This year, they’re Nov. 23 and 26.

The prime minister warned last week that his government would look at “all options” to bring the labour dispute to an end if there was no significant progress in Canada Post’s contract talks with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

WATCH: Canada Post cuts workers’ disability benefits after strike action

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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