Postal workers seek public support as job cuts loom
Published Saturday, May 10, 2014 5:08PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 10, 2014 6:33PM EDT
In an effort to enlist public support, about 300 postal workers took to Montreal streets Saturday to oppose planned changed to Canada Post.
Grappling with lower amounts of mail and revenue, the national mail delivery service announced in December plans to phase out home delivery, saying it's too costly in the digital age.
The cuts mean 6,000 to 8,000 jobs will be phased out across the country this fall.
“I could be losing my job. I'm fearful of that. I could lose my job after seven years in,” said letter carrier Walter Betts.
Jobs are especially vulnerable in Quebec.
“Out of 11 municipalities (losing door-to-door service), five are in Quebec. And this has been going on for many years at many postal stations where we service the populations. Fifty per cent of the ones closed were in Quebec,” said Sylvain Lapointe, national director of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers for the Montreal region.
The Crown corporation says with a 50 per cent drop in mail volume they face losing $1 billion in revenue.
“A change of this magnitude were not taken lightly or thought through on short notice,” said Canada Post President Deepak Chopra.
The CUPW disputes those numbers.
“We understand the fact that the amount of mail is going down, but we don't share the view of Canada Post that the only way to change is to cut services. That's the big difference between the two,” said CUPW National President Denis Lemelin.
The union is looking at alternatives such as parcel service and e-commerce and banking to generate profits.
But right now, they say they need to generate public support. Along with Saturday's demonstration, organizers have put together a postcard campaign – using mail to save mail.
“I still think mail delivery is important,” said one demonstrator. “There are a lot of people who really need it. Why just get rid of people?”