The Canadian Union of Postal Workers announced Monday its members have ratified a tentative deal reached last summer with Canada Post.
Rural and suburban mail carriers voted 55 per cent in favour of the new contract, while urban postal workers voted 63 per cent in favour, said Lise-Lyne Gelineau, president of the union's Montreal section.
“What's important is that we are moving forward,” she said in an interview.
“I think we couldn't have expected 90 per cent approval – that’s clear. There are people on the ground who are concerned about issues that the agreement won't fix.”
The deal represents a 2.5 per cent salary increase for urban carriers over two years, while rural and suburban carriers are to receive three per cent over the same period.
Negotiations between Canada Post and its unionized employees lasted months and resulted in threats of lockouts and strikes that never materialized.
The main point of contention was pay equity.
Urban carriers, who are mostly male, make 30 per cent more than rural and suburban carriers, who are mostly female, the union said.
The issue of pay equity will be studied by a committee, which is to report back in 18 months.
“There are areas where we didn't really make progress,” Gelineau said. “But we held on to what we thought were priorities, such as our retirement plans and pay equity for the rural and suburban carriers.”
As the contract was ratified after such lengthy negotiations, both sides are expected to be back at the table next June.
“There are issues left to negotiate,” Gelineau said. “We will start again soon.”
The contract talks took place while the long-term future of the Crown corporation was under study by a parliamentary committee, which is expected to release its conclusions in the spring.
Canada Post said the uncertainty regarding possible work stoppages cost the corporation about $100 million during the fiscal year's third quarter, which ended Oct. 1.
The union represents roughly 54,000 postal employees across the country.
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