Possible service disruption as Winnipeg postal workers vote for strike mandate

WINNIPEG —; Mail service disruptions could soon hit Manitoba, as early as Saturday, after postal workers voted in favour of a strike mandate for their union.

The contract dispute between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) stretches back to late 2015, as the two sides aim to reach a new agreement for 50,000 workers.

The deadline to reach a new deal is July 2.

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CUPW represents two groups of workers: urban city centres and rural/surburban areas. According to the union’s news release, 98 per cent of urban workers in Manitoba voted for a strike mandate, while 100 per cent of rural workers voted in favour. Across the country, urban workers voted 94 per cent in favour of the mandate and 91 per cent of rural workers voted in favour.

READ MORE: Governments, online retailers prepare as Canada Post work stoppage looms

Aalya Ahmad, spokesperson for CUPW said “there is every indication Canada Post is heading towards a lockout.” Ahmad said Canada Post has begun warning its biggest volume customers to prepare for service disruptions.

Canada Post last presented an offer to the union on Monday.

The last work stoppage at Canada Post was in 2011, when an initial rotating strike turned into a lockout. The disruption in service was ended after the Conservatives passed back-to-work legislation.

Governments have begun making plans in the event a strike or lockout comes to fruition. Manitoba government – which mails approximately 50,000 cheques every month – has set up designated pickup locations for essential mail.

Canada Post has also recommended that all local, regional, national and expedited mail be sent by June 29 to ensure parcels are delivered properly.

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