It was good to see Canada Post abandon its threat to lock out Canada Post workers, members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). Since then the ongoing negotiations have been conducted behind closed door. Let’s hope Canada Post has also abandoned an unfair and unnecessary concession they are demanding from newly hired workers.
I’m talking about Canada Post’s demand that new hires be enrolled in a defined contribution pension rather than the current defined benefit pension. The latter provides a guaranteed income in retirement. The former is a much less secure savings plan.
Keep in mind, defined benefit pensions are deferred wages that have been earned by workers. These funds are pooled, professionally managed, and invested to provide some income security in retirement.
Far too many Canadians are financially unprepared for retirement. If we don’t take actions, we are going to have a lot of poor seniors. Our federal and provincial governments recognize this. That’s why they are looking to enhance the Canada Pension Plan to improve retirement income security. At the very same time, Canada Post is trying to undermine the retirement income security of its workers.
This is a step in the wrong direction that will impact Canada Post’s younger workers.
This isn’t a lavish, “gold-plated” pension we’re talking about here either. A 65-year old retired letter carrier, with 35 years on the job, collects a pension of about $25,000 a year.
Clearly the mail delivery business has undergone profound changes. But Canada Post has benefited from some of these changes. Yes, Canadians send and receive far fewer letters via Canada Post than they once did. But, as more and more Canadians shop online, Canada Post has become the largest parcel delivery service in the country.
Canada Post has been profitable for the last two decades. It does not need to strip hard fought gains from the next generation of Canada Post workers.