Sunday, April 04, 2010


CANADIAN LABOUR:
PROTEST CANADA POST CALL CENTRE PRIVATIZATION:



Plans on the part of Canada Post to privatize its customer service call centres have stirred up protests from the workers involved. Here is the basic story from the CBC.
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Planned Canada Post cuts draw union's ire

Plans by Canada Post to privatize its customer service call centres in cities across Canada are drawing fire from one of the country's largest unions.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), representing more than 165,000 public-sector workers, has pledged to combat the move, which is expected to result in the loss of 300 jobs across the country.

Call centres in Fredericton, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton are affected. The centres handle telephone inquiries from the public about postage rates and parcel tracking.

Canada Post's National Philatelic Centre in Antigonish, N.S., will also close, affecting about 70 jobs. The centre sells stamps from several other postal agencies around the world.

The Crown corporation said on Thursday that decreasing mail volumes prompted the cuts, which are slated to take place in 2011 after selected workers' contracts expire.

No full-time workers will be laid off, and the call centres will not be outsourced to overseas locations, a Canada Post spokesperson said.

In Manitoba, as many as 30 temporary employees at Canada Post's Winnipeg-based call depot will not have their contracts renewed. About 70 other permanent staff will move to other jobs with the Crown corporation.

Data for the other centres was not immediately available.

Privacy concerns raised
PSAC spokeswoman Janet May told CBC News that the changes are part of a broader effort by Canada Post management to move the company further toward complete privatization.

"Canada Post is in its 15th year of profit," May said. "So to an average Canadian, does it make sense that part of your postal system is getting privatized?"

The union said it also worries about the loss of people's privacy if they have to offer up personal information to a private company — especially if the call-centre work is outsourced to a U.S. company.

"I'm not sure that Canadians are ready to see their postal service become an information collection agency for the American government," said Robyn Benson, PSAC's executive vice-president for the Prairies.


Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2010/04/01/man-canada-post-cuts-call-centre.html#ixzz0kA223Zrt
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Here's how the situation is viewed by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) who represent many of the workers employed in the customer service call centres. Here's the press release from their website.
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Canada Post to privatize 300 contact centre jobs across Canada

Ottawa—The Public Service Alliance of Canada, the largest federal public service union in the country, will be taking swift action to prevent Canada Post from privatizing an important part of its operations. Yesterday, the crown corporation announced that it would outsource its contact centres and the National Philatelic Centre, resulting in the elimination of more than 300 jobs across the country.


Affected locations include:

Edmonton
Ottawa
Winnipeg
Antigonish
Fredericton
“This obsession with privatization will badly damage the quality of the Canadian postal service as well as the communities it serves,” said Robyn Benson, the PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for the Prairies. “Many regions in the country will lose local contact with Canada Post as well as jobs that are important for the local economy,” she added.

For Benson, the privatization of Canada Post’s answering services also raises the question of protection of confidential information provided by Canadians.

“I’m not sure that Canadians are ready to see their postal service become an information collection agency for the American government,’ Benson said. “If an American company answers calls for Canada Post, then the U.S. Patriot Act gives the government access to all information the company collects. Is that what Canadians want?”

Richard Deslauriers, the National President of PSAC component, the Union of Postal and Communications Employees (UPCE) said this type of economic reasoning will bring Canada Post closer to a complete privatization.

“The privatization of Canada Post has always been an objective of the current management and the conservative federal government,” Deslauriers said. “The slippery slope of partial privatization of services will end up with Canada Post in the hands of private companies and Canadians will be deprived of a service they have relied on for decades”.

The PSAC represents more than 166,000 members across the country including 2,000 at Canada Post.

To arrange media interviews:

Alain Cossette, PSAC Communications, 613-293-9210

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