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Strike is averted for DHL Express in Canada

December 06, 2013

A 300,000-member Canadian labor union, Unifor, which was formed in August as the result of a merger between the Canadain Auto Workers Union, and the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada, said earlier this week its DHL Canada member employees were set to go on strike, but it appears that potential work stoppage has been averted.

Unifor said yesterday that a tentative deal has been reached for a new contract for DHL Express members in Canada.

“Deadline bargaining and continued solidarity made this deal possible,” said Bob Orr, Unifor Assistant to the President, in a statement, adding the bargaining committee is unanimously recommending that the deal be ratified.

On December 2, Unifor served a 72-hour notice of legal strike action on behalf of its more than 600 members that work for DHL throughout Canada in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia, explaining that a strike would take effect on December 5 if a fair agreement had not been reached by then.

“Unifor is prepared to take on the struggle for courier workers across Canada and our members are prepared to strike if necessary to achieve a fair contract,” said Orr in a December 2 statement. “Our bargaining committees have been working for over six months to achieve a fair agreement. DHL has stalled on addressing the key issues and their proposals do not reflect the contributions that our members have made towards the success of DHL.”

Unifor’s DHL Express members deliver and pick up packages throughout Canada, including international freight, said Unifor. The union also noted that negotiations had been ongoing back to last May. 

A DHL representative told LM on Wednesday that had a strike come to fruition, a contingency plan was in place.

“We have met with UNIFOR numerous times since May 2013,” the DHL representative said.  “In that time we have reached agreement on a number of issues, however, many issues remain unresolved. On December 2, 2013 the union provided the legally required 72 hours notice that they intend to strike as of midnight December 5.  DHL Express remains available to meet with the union during this notice period. DHL Express had hoped to avoid a strike which could potentially affect our customers and businesses across Canada during the busy holiday period.  Contingency plans have been finalized and in the event of a strike will be put in place to ensure our continued operation in Canada. We want to achieve an agreement that is that is fair to our hourly Employees and Owner Operators but also clearly reflects the current market place and business environment.”

DHL no longer has a domestic Canada operation, but it has substantial inbound and outbound volumes of Express, Air Freight and Ocean Freight.

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