LETTER: Canada Post needs a new strategy

Electronic communication has taken a grim toll at Canada Post.

Editor, the Abbotsford News:

Electronic communication has taken a grim toll at Canada Post. Canadians have read of two big changes:  on March 1, 2013, the stamp price skyrockets from 63 cents to $1, a 59% increase, and door-to-door delivery ends.

The actual plan is not quite that bad.

*Single stamps will cost $1 but by the package, 85 cents, a 35% increase.

*Delivery in rural areas will continue.

*About one-third of Canadian households will lose home delivery; phased in over 5 years.

*Delivery to apartment blocks, seniors homes, and other centralized points will continue.

Given that Canada Post will lose about $400 million this year, and a projected $1 billion by 2020, something must be done. Canada Post’s remedy is puzzling. Only a competition-sheltered government monopoly could see a solution, instead of a downward spiral, in reducing services while raising costs sharply.

There is a better multi-faceted option. First, present door-to door delivery should continue for 5 years. This would permit seniors and disabled people to make residence decisions.

Second, stamp cost should be adjusted to 65 cents, not 85 cents.

Third, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers should accept adjustment of benefits to save the system. The average worker’s $23.11 wage is realistic but the 11 paid holidays, vacations between 3 and 7 weeks, the double-time wages for a 6th or 7th day of work, many other generous benefits, and a generous pension after 30 years at age 55 need adjustment.

Fourth, postal delivery should be reduced to three days a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In this electronic age, that should meet all needs.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers should not expect much public support in their current plight. Many Canadians recall that the CUPW ignored the public interest during its 1981 42-day strike which cost businesses a reported $3 billion. Or the 1978 strike when the union defied back-to-work legislation. Or the other 18 costly work stoppages in the last 50 years.

Now, however, the CUPW, Canada Post, and the public must cooperate to save a key public service.

John H. Redekop