Hope for a quick resolution to the labour battle between Canada Post and the union representing 50,000 of its workers seemed to dim on Monday as the Crown corporation released a blistering statement in response the union’s latest offer.
Canada Post said it was “extremely disappointed” in the response from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) at the bargaining table in recent days.
“Late Friday evening, CUPW tabled offers that would add at least $1 billion in new costs over the term of a new collective agreement while rejecting the Corporation’s approach to address the long-term issues with the employee pension plan,” said a statement released Monday morning.
Canada Post also accused the union of demanding the reversal of several changes that had already been agreed to in the last round of negotiations in 2012.
READ MORE: Canada Post work stoppage: What are the negotiations about anyway?
In spite of the fact that the two sides appear to remain far apart on numerous points, talks are reportedly continuing in the hopes of negotiating a deal.
Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said the company has not given the required 72 hours’ notice of a lockout, nor has the union given notice of any job action. Both sides remain at the table and Hamilton said he hopes they can reach an agreement that is “affordable and reasonable.”
WATCH: Small businesses fear higher costs as Canada Post work stoppage looms
Changes to employee pension plans have been a key sticking point. Canada Post made new contract proposals about a week ago, and the union presented a counter offer on Friday.
That offer included wage hikes and rejects Canada Post’s plan to have new employees get a pension plan that operates like an RRSP instead of the defined benefit plan for current employees that guarantees a set level of retirement benefits.
READ MORE: What you need to know if service stops
Hamilton says Canada Post has expressed frustration over the union’s proposal, which he says “puts us in the exact opposite direction of where we need to be as a company.”
On Saturday, the union called the wage increase offer presented by Canada Post last week “an insult.”
If no deal is reached, the two sides are now in a position to either strike or begin a lockout, which could disrupt mail services to Canadians across the country as early as Thursday if a 72-hour notice is served today.
The deteriorating status of the negotiations has been aired publicly in a series of statements issued on websites and to the media over the last few weeks.
With files from the Canadian Press.