Local Canada Post employees were outside the Commercial Service Centre building on Thursday protesting working conditions. The strike is part of rotating strikes held across Canada this week. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Postal workers strike today in Red Deer

“We just want a fair collective agreement, better wages, better benefits”

Red Deer postal workers hit the streets today to protest what they consider unfair working conditions at Canada Post.

Mail carriers and other employees with the Local 818 of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) started to strike at 6 a.m. as part of rotating strikes happening in cities across Canada this week.

Barbara Lilly, president of the Local 818 of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said postal workers have been working for years under unfair conditions.

“We don’t get paid for the hours worked. We put in 10 hours but only get paid for seven hours,” she said. “We get no paid breaks, no overtime.”

She added, “We just want a fair collective agreement, better wages, better benefits and Canada Post isn’t negotiating right now.”

Throughout the past 10 months of negotiating, CUPW and Canada Post have not reached new collective agreements.

Passersby showed their support to the small group marching the picket line outside the Canada Post building on 67a St. in the morning by honking their car horns.

Letter carrier Jason Thomas said while low wages are a big part of the reason employees are striking, mail routes are getting longer and employees are not compensated for overtime.

“People are working longer, harder days and it’s a lot of extra wear and tear on our body that we aren’t being fairly compensated for it, especially when it comes to delivery,” he said.

Karla Huff said Canada Post needs to hire permanent staff and provide the benefits that come with full-time employment.

“They are bringing in all the casuals and they have no job security, no pension and no benefits and they are doing the work as the rest of us.”

Anthony Thomas, who is a welder by profession, disagreed. He said the postal workers should get back to work or find a better paying job.

“If they don’t like their wages or working style, then leave, move on, get a different higher paying, more skilled job,” he said. “There’s more than enough people to take their spots.”

He added, “I hate how everyone thinks if they whine and complain about it enough, it will get handed to them.”

In a comment under the story on the Red Deer Express Facebook page, Jonathan Mohr said he works about 14 hours a day with no overtime pay.

“You don’t like it, do something about it. It’s called get a new job,” he wrote.

A post on the Canada Post website reads that mail and parcels will not be delivered or picked up where these strikes are taking place.

“Employees at other strike locations have returned to work,” it reads.

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