Oliver postal workers back to work, but strike not over

Oliver postal workers back to work, but strike not over

Postal workers in Oliver are back to work today after a rotating strike yesterday. One issue that rural mail carriers are fighting is forced overtime, which they say creates a safety hazard after dark. According to carriers, they have to work overtime without pay, and they risk getting hurt trying to deliver parcels in the dark. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

By Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

The one-day postal strike in Oliver is over, but nobody knows how long rotating strikes will continue.

Approximately 10 postal workers were picketing in front of the Fairview Road office on Thursday.

Francine, a rural mail carrier, told the Chronicle that one of the biggest issues concerning workers is forced overtime.

She explained that Canada Post expects carriers to work overtime without pay. This includes working after dark to deliver parcels, which creates a safety hazard.

“They throw everything at us, so we’re out longer with no overtime pay,” said Francine, who didn’t want to give her last name for fear of reprisals.

She noted that mail carriers find themselves hurrying in the dark because they are told they have to deliver every single parcel before they finish the day.

Francine also said that carriers use their own vehicles, and the allowance they receive doesn’t cover fuel expenses.

She added that rural carriers are also seeking pay equity with their urban counterparts.

A Canada Post official told the Chronicle today that the corporation has made significant offers to the union that include increased wages, job security and improved benefits, and it has not asked for any concessions in return.

The Minister of Labour has extended the mandate of Morton Mitchnick as mediator for a period of four days to assist the parties in reaching a resolution.

The spokesperson said they have been able to find common ground with the union on some issues.

“We have also committed to work together to address employees’ workload concerns caused by parcel growth,” the official said, adding they are going beyond pay equity for rural and suburban employees by extending job security and moving to one uniform for all delivery employees.

• VIDEO: Oliver postal workers strike