Rotating postal strikes arrive

UPDATE 11:05 a.m.

The rotating Canada Post strike has come to Vernon, Penticton and Kamloops.

Picket lines went up around local post offices Thursday morning as CUPW pressed their strike action in the region.

Post offices in six B.C. communities are behind picket lines for the next 24 hours.

The strike action has been ongoing across the country with different communities finding their mail has stopped at different times.

Vernon Local 848 president Valeta Heiden said one of the main stumbling blocks to securing a contract is work load.

CUPW has been without a contract for 10 months and items like forced overtime are at heart of bargaining.

“There's a lot of problems with overburdening and forced overtime,” said Heiden. “At this depot alone we've had upward of 70 forced overtime in the past six months where you do your job and then are forced to go and do one-third of another route.”

Heiden said Canada Post uses forced overtime as a staffing tool instead of hiring more workers.

“It's breaking people. Their own report came out in October and they were the highest injury rates across Canada for any industry,” she said.

“Parcels are bigger, parcels are heavier, it's more of a burden. We are being asked to carry more and more weight. It's a lot of physical degradation over time.”

Heiden said for rural CUPW members the issue is pay equity.

“The way they are paid, the way their routes are structured, it's appalling,” said Heiden. “They are doing hundreds of parcels a day.”

Mail service is expected to resume as normal Friday.

Canada Post workers are picketing today in Vernon, Kamloops and Penticton.

Picket lines went up around local postal offices Thursday morning, part of rotating job action across the country that began last month.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers represents 50,000 postal employees and are seeking changes to their contract to address a wage-gap between rural and suburban mail carriers and the use of temporary workers.

Union locals in the Cariboo, in Quesnel and Williams Lake, are also off the job today.

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