Arbitration resumed on September 26 with a very intense schedule. There are 8 days of hearings scheduled over a three week period. Canada Post continued presenting its evidence.
We cross examined Canada Post’s witness Jean Caron, Interim Finance Lead. We challenged much of Mr. Caron’s testimony regarding the viability of the Canada Post network and his negative representation of Canada Post’s recent financial performance. He admitted that these are just numbers and can be presented in many ways. Throughout this cross examination we showed that the results are actually much more positive than what was presented in evidence.
There was also a detailed review of how Canada Post accounts for one time expenses, such as the three pay equity cases it has lost in the past few years.
Canada Post also attempted to blame labour disruptions or threat of labour disruptions for negatively impacting its profits in 2011, 2016 and 2018. If Canada Post would bring reasonable offers to the negotiating table then there would be no need for labour disruptions.
Mr. Caron’s cross examination continued on September 27 and he was challenged on how Canada Post calculates “Productive Hourly Rates” which they use for comparative purposes. Once again Canada Post attempted to make the hourly rate for Group 1 and 2 employees appear to be much higher than it actually is.
This cross examination concluded with challenges to how Canada Post was costing the parties demands on wage increases and how Canada Post compared our demands to wage increases in other bargaining units (APOC, CPAA and PSAC). Day 26 of the arbitration concluded with a brief redirect by Canada Post counsel.
These 3 days of hearings were spent listening to a very lengthy testimony from Canada Post’s third witness, Jean-Laurent Rousset, General Manager of Customer Experience. Mr. Rousset testified for approximately 11 hours with him reading several passages of the collective agreement !
In addition there was a tour of the Ottawa Mail Processing Plant, with the Arbitrator, which took approximately 4 hours. The intent of this tour was to show the Arbitrator how mail and parcels flow through the Canada Post network.
Mr. Rousset testified in great detail about the parties’ positions, in negotiations, on Group 1 staffing. The theme of Mr. Rousset’s testimony was that Canada Post needs flexibility with Group 1 staffing to be able to continue to remain competitive in the parcel market. This is in spite of Canada Post continuing to be the dominant parcel delivery company in Canada.
Canada Post’s demand for Group 1 is to reduce the ratio of full-time to hours paid from 78% to 75%.
The next hearing dates are October 8, 9 & 10. We will cross examine Mr. Rousset and challenge his testimony. The next Canada Post witness is Mr. Sanjay Paliwal, General Manager Delivery Transformation. Mr. Paliwal is scheduled to testify on; letter carrier health and safety, overburdening, restructures, one-bundle delivery, and job security, RSMC restructures and hourly rate and job retention. Canada Post is estimating that Mr. Paliwal’s testimony in chief will take 9 hours. Time will tell exactly how long he will take.