Effects of the rolling strike of Canada’s postal workers has reached the north, hampering delivery of everything from public-assistance checks to supplies for fly-in communities, and Ottawa has vowed to pass legislation ordering 48,000 locked-out workers back onto the job.
Mail service “has ground to a halt” in the three territories of Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, CBC News reported.
The strike is holding up some social assistance checks in Yukon and causing price fears in the Northwest Territories, CBC News said. In Nunavut the post offices were still open because those workers are represented by a different union, though with no mail coming through they didn’t have much to do. They were not accepting or receiving mail, dealing only with whatever had arrived before the postal service locked out Canadian Union of Postal Workers members on June 14, capping 12 days of rotating strikes.
“The unfortunate situation is we cannot receive any mail. So we cannot even induct local mail for local delivery,” CPAA president Leslie Schous told CBC News.
In Ottawa the Conservative government moved to legislate a back-to-work order, the Globe and Mail reported. The dual strikes at Canada Post and Air Canada were endangering the economy for everyone, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the House of Commons, according to Postmedia News.
In the Northwest Territories, residents of remote Trout Lake feared their cost of living would shoot up as the mail flights are a cost-effective way of getting goods in and out, as opposed to pricey charter flights, said Greg Drury, whose company Sambaa K’e Development Corp. runs the general store, to the CBC.
Mail delivery has been cut back to three times per week in urban areas, the postal service said. Workers have been picketing at post offices around the country, though not in Nunavut, where they belong to the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA), which is not on strike.
Canada Post assured customers on June 16 that checks for the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Veterans’ Affairs Pension Plan and Canada Child Tax Benefit would be delivered on June 20.