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As postal strikes continue, couriers picking up the slack
Postal workers are sticking to their strategy of limited rotating strikes for another day, targeting Calgary on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. (Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Wednesday, June 8, 2011 6:03PM CST
Saskatchewan has yet to be hit by the Canadian Union of Postal Worker's rotating strikes, but mail service will still be affected. Starting next week, Canada Post says that mail delivery will be reduced to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the duration of the job action. Right now it seems there just isn't enough business to justify regular service.
Many people who rely on Canada Post are playing it safe and switching to other couriers, who are bulking up their staff to take on the extra work.
At the STC Parcel company, there has been an increase in business since the news of the Canada Post strike. Deanna Bergbursch says the company's same day service has seen jumps. "We have over 200 locations in the province, some of them provide same day service, and we can ship parcels across the country through out interline agreements with greyhound and other regional carriers."
It's the same story at a UPS store in downtown Saskatoon. Talia Cantafio, an employee at UPS Saskatoon, says there's been a 40 per cent jump in mail service over the same time last year. "People are sending packages as well as lots of letters, money orders, passport stuff, things that people don't want to take the chance of losing or getting stuck."
Canada Post says negotiations continue but the two sides are far apart. The Crown Corporation says it's trying to deal with plunging mail volumes and revenues. The union says they want higher wages and are overworked.
Bev Ray is the Union President in Edmonton. She says there is a staffing shortage. "In the prairies this is where we've seen the bulk of the amount of forced overtime, and not enough staffing to cover letter carrier routes."
And at STC Parcel Express, they're preparing for what could be a very busy few weeks. In the event of a full blown walkout, the company will call in summer students early to help out.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers announced late Wednesday afternoon its members will be off the job Thursday in a number of centres across the country, but not Saskatchewan.