Ottawa — While disruptive action by Canadian air traffic controllers caused chaosin North American flights, postal workers who had tied up mail here for 42 days went back to work Tuesday, Monitor contributor David Milne reports
The 23,000-member Canadian Union of Postal Workers voted 83 percent in favor of a new contract, ending a work stoppage that cost the Canadian economy millions of dollars in lost business and caused thousands of layoffs by small businesses that rely heavily on the postal service. The two-year contract provides a 12.5 percent annual wage increase, retroactive to Jan. 1, and improvements in working conditions.
"I feel postal workers can be proud of the type of strike they were able to maintain for six weeks," said Jean Claude Parrot, union president.
In an effort to improve postal operations, the Canadian government is converting it into a federally owned corporation. But the country's mail troubles may be far from over. A substantial portion of the union was saidto have thought the current wage increase was too low.
The long strike has reportedly fueled sentiment for a reversal of the government's 1968 decision giving federal civil servants the right to strike.