Canada Post, Union Reach Tentative Pact

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Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers signed a tentative four-year deal over the weekend that now goes to union members for a vote and final approval.

The agreement ensures Canadian postal workers an annual 3 percent wage increase protected by a cost-of-living allowance. The CUPW said in a statement it also had obtained health and safety improvements for workers, such as an annual contribution of money by Canada Post toward safety training, studies and the elimination of work hazards.

In addition, a second agreement provides employee status for 6,000 rural and suburban mail carriers and guarantees wage and benefit improvements. According to the CUPW, rural carriers -- who the union said have been paid "poverty" wages and denied the right to collective bargaining -- will now form a separate bargaining unit.

Voting meetings for union members are set for late August, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported.

In a separate statement, Canada Post said further details of the agreement would be released following union member approval.

Representatives of Canada Post and the union did not return phone calls for comment yesterday.

Negotiations between Canada Post and its workers went on for seven months until a strike deadline loomed in mid-July. Talks continued through that deadline and two more extended deadlines until a strike was averted when negotiators agreed to a contract framework last week.

The last postal strike in 1997 shut down the Canadian postal service for 14 days.


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