Kelowna Canada Post workers on the picket line outside the Baillie Avenue mail plant Wednesday. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Updated: Central Okanagan postal workers on strike

CUPW workers off job for 24 hours from Lake Country to Peachland, including Kelowna, West Kelowna

If you live in the Central Okanagan, don’t expect to get mail today.

Postal workers from Winfield to Peachland, including Kelowna and West Kelowna, are on strike for 24 hours.

According to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers website, CUPW locals are on strike Wednesday in Toronto and Kelowna from 6 a.m. PT to 6 a.m PT Thursday.

Kelowna CUPW local 760 president Matthew Aitken said the strike in Kelowna affects about 250 members of the the union and is part of the CUPW’s rotating strikes across the country.

READ MORE: Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

“We’re fighting for better wages. We want to alleviate the overburdening we experience on a daily basis, and Kelowna’s mail service is shut down today,” he said.

On the picket line outside the Canada Post Baillie Avenue plant in Kelowna’s North End, Aitken said the three main issues are wages, conditions and wage parity for rural postal carriers.

He said Canada Post has seen a huge increase in parcel delivery—in large part due to online shopping— and, as a result, the corporation is posting “record” profits.

In 2012, Canada post reported it had two days where it delivered more than one million packages,said Aitken. In 2017, the number of days when it delivered more than a million packages jumped to 67.

“Our package volume is out of sight,” he said.

As for wages, postal workers have not had what the Kelowna local 760 president described as a “decent” increase in a while, despite Canada Post making huge profits. The last contract between the corporation and the union was a two-year deal that expired in January.

On the pay equity for rural postal carriers issue, Aitken said an arbitrator has ruled in favour of the union but the corporation has yet to respond.

Mail service in the Central Okanagan is expected to resume Thursday.

The federal government has appointed a special mediator to try and encourage both side to meet and negotiate.

On Oct. 21, The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said its rotating strikes would start in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor, last for 24 hours at each location and then change locations each day going forward.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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