Canada Post workers began a rotating strike on June 2, shutting down service in various cities across the country and forcing booksellers to explore other ways to ensure they can deliver books to customers buying online.
Indigo’s executive v-p for online sales, Andrew Sloss, said, “Our first priority at Indigo.ca is to ensure we're able to seamlessly continue to serve our online customers across the country.” That has meant arranging for alternate carriers and posting banners throughout the indigo.ca site to assure customers that they can still have timely delivery for books they purchase online. Sloss added that “Canada Post is a valued service provider to Indigo's Online division and we do hope for a quick resolution to this matter.” The company has not answered questions from PW about what the impact of the strike has been so far or how it would be affected by a prolonged strike.
Amazon.ca has similar messages for its customers on its Web site. “Amazon.ca uses multiple carriers to deliver packages to customers, including Canada Post. We're monitoring the progress of the strike and are using alternate delivery carriers when necessary to deliver customer orders.” The Web site does, however, warn that the strike may cause some delays. “If you purchase from a seller who uses Canada Post to ship orders, you may notice a delivery delay as a result of the labour dispute. We expect that any impact will be minimal.” Amazon did not respond to further inquiries from PW.
Although the shut downs are only for 24 hours in each community, Canada Post says the strike has undermined consumer confidence and the volume of mail being sent has fallen significantly. The postal workers union announces new cities to be affected day by day. The Canadian Press news service reported that Quebec City and Kitchener, Ont. were slated to be hit Friday, but yesterday workers walked picket lines in 13 smaller cities. Major cities such as Winnipeg, Calgary, Montreal and Victoria have already been strike sites.
Canada Post said it and the union’s positions remain far apart on some key issues. The corporation says it needs concessions from its workers in order to deal with falling mail volumes and revenues as electronic communications such as email replace a significant portion of paper mail.