Saturday postal service may soon be a thing of the past for a number of small communities across Newfoundland and Labrador.
Last October Canada Post notified the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA), the bargaining agent representing over 8,000 Canada Post employees who work in rural post offices, of their proposal to eliminate Saturday service in the communities of Sunnyside and New Harbour. Canada Post is now proposing to cut Saturday hours on a much broader scale.
The proposal will affect the communities of English Harbour West, Carmanville, Belleoram, Cape Broyle, Port au Port and Englee.
If the proposed reductions are implemented, there will be a negative impact on the services as well as the earnings of affected employees, stated a recent CPAA press release.
The CPAA fears the Saturday closures could cause the steady erosion of postal services in more rural communities.
President of the CPAA Louise Ade is asking that the proposal be halted if at all possible and would like Canada Post to listen to the people of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We feel as a union that people in rural Canada deserve the same postal service as they have in urban areas,” said Ade in a brief telephone conversation.
She stressed the importance of the issue coming into the public light.
“It’s a downgrade in postal service for the communities and the people need to be aware of it,” she added.
The CPAA has already submitted one counter proposal. It suggested if Canada Post wanted to take the Saturday service, then additional hours should be added to weekdays.
“It would allow the people in the communities continued access to postal services throughout the week,” she said. “That might be an option the communities could live with.”
The counter proposal was ignored by Canada Post.
“Canada Post refused to even look at that proposal, they were more determined to reduce the hours of service to the communities and to get rid of that one employee that works on Saturday,” said Ade.
She says this is just another way for Canada Post to cut costs and that it’s a complete downgrade in postal service with the loss of Saturday service hours.
In addition, Ade hastened to point out the communities are losing employment with Newfoundland and Labrador being hit hard and fast with this many Saturday closures.
Ade is concerned if the voices of rural communities aren’t soon raised, Canada Post may not hear them at all.
“It seems they (Canada Post) are not listening to the people of the community, they are just moving forward with this.”
Canada Post could not be reached for comment.