Citing reduced mail volumes as Canada Post reports a second-quarter loss, CUPW is enlisting the support of Merritt residents to oppose a downsizing of their post office.
The Crown corporation includes the Merritt post office on a list of 60 outlets across Canada where a new retail model is being considered for adoption in 2014.
If the plan were to proceed, the Merritt outlet, which once had seven employees, would be reduced to 1.5 positions, said Bob Mitchell, president of CUPW Local 758. Merritt would be left with a rump of what it has now, he said.
“Our obvious concern is that this is designed to frustrate customers and eventually they’ll go to a franchise operator,” said Mitchell, a Kamloops letter carrier.
They’ve so far collected about 400 signatures opposing the change.
On Tuesday, Canada Post Group reported a $104-million loss in its last quarter, stating that cost-cutting and streamlining failed to balance out lower mail volumes.
The federal Crown corporation said the loss comes in the midst of a “historic shift” to digital communications that has eroded mail volumes at an “accelerated pace.”
The reported loss is merely another deception designed to drag down the postal service, Mitchell said.
Canada Post earned a profit of $128 million last year. While there was a loss of $76 million in the first quarter, that was down from $80 million in the same period last year. Only in 2011, when Canada Post had to pay out a court settlement, did it lose money overall, Mitchell said. Revenue has remained relatively stable.
“But that’s not what Canada Post wants you to hear,” Mitchell said.
He contends that the Conservative government is orchestrating the gradual demise of the postal service to make way for private enterprise.
Canada Post maintains it is consulting to chart its future as fewer people send mail and use post offices.
Its “multi-pronged transformation” is part of an overall effort to “avoid becoming a financial drain on taxpayers.”
The $104-million loss before taxes was heavier than a loss of $102 million in the same quarter a year earlier.
Transaction mail, which includes letters, bills and statements and accounts for half of Canada Post’s revenue, was down by 51 million pieces or 6.3 per cent in the quarter, compared with a year earlier.
However, Canada Post said its parcels delivery business grew due to the popularity of online shopping. In Canada, volumes in the second quarter were up by 5.1 per cent, compared with a year ago.