UPDATE: The union representing Canada's postal workers issued a release on Friday afternoon, saying they were relieved that the value of their 30-day truce proposal was acknowledged by Canada Post management, but called binding arbitration "a poison pill that shouldn't be part of the deal."
"We have been crystal clear from the beginning we want a negotiated settlement. We want to have meaningful discussions with management, but getting a guaranteed bail-out from an arbitrator at the end of it isn’t the incentive they need to stop playing these games with the public,” Canadian Union of Postal Workers national president Mike Palecek said in the release.
“Our bosses at Canada Post could just sit there for 30 days, refuse to discuss our proposals, as they have been doing for months, and then wait things out in the legal system for years."
The union has renewed its call for a 30-day cooling-off period and meaningful negotiations. Without a deal in place, Canada Post will be free to lock out its employees starting Monday at 12:01 a.m.
Check back with Pique as this story progresses--------------------------
Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) appear ready to head back to the bargaining table for another 30 days of intensive negotiations.
On Friday, the CUPW proposed a 30-day "cooling off period" to allow the two sides to reach an agreement and avoid a strike or lockout.
Canada Post agreed, but added the stipulation that if no agreement is reached after 30 days, both parties must agree to binding arbitration.
"Canada Post and the union have been in discussions since late 2015, with 60 days of conciliation and almost 30 more days with federal mediators, yet the parties remain far apart on key issues," Canada Post said in a release.
CUPW has yet to respond to the arbitration proposal. Requests for comment were not immediately returned.
Canada Post had originally said it would lock out its 50,000 unionized employees if an agreement wasn't reached by Friday, before extending the deadline to Monday at 12:01 a.m.
Should a strike or lockout occur, the provincial Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services has contingency plans in place to make sure British Columbians continue to receive cheques and critical documents.
An information bulletin has been posted to news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016MTICS0016-001244.
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