The Council of Canadians joined the fray in front of the post office on Tuesday.

The Council of Canadians joined the fray in front of the post office on Tuesday.

Canada Post trims local service

Nelson residents could be facing longer line-ups at the post office this holiday season.

Nelson residents could be facing longer line-ups at the post office this holiday season.

Postal workers and concerned members of the public rallied at the Vernon Street location on Tuesday in hopes of preventing the elimination of a full-time shift.

“What they’ve done here is moved a full-time job into a part-time job and taken a lot of the staff from the middle of the day,” Bruce Northcott, president of Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 790, told 103.5 The Bridge.

Northcott met for consultation with Canada Post representatives at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

“The meeting was almost predictable. They call it a consultation, but they said their decision had been made. Actually, I believe February was the date on the paperwork,” he said.

Northcott believes Canada Post decided to reduce the position a long time ago and just waited for the first person to transfer or retire.

The reason for the cut is unclear as even Canada Post admitted in Tuesday’s meeting that the Vernon Street post office is the busiest in the Kootenays.

“What they’re cutting is not a lot of dollars. If you pump through another five to 10 customers you’ll make that back in parcels, and I told them that. Doesn’t it make sense to go after that business instead of run away from it?” said Northcott.

Despite the economic recession, Northcott said the five per cent dip in business is relatively modest.

“This is a trend. They’ve done it in all of the stations around the country and they’re merging as much of the business to the city as they can and taking it away from our small towns and there’s no reason for it,” he said. “We’re a busy location and I could see it if we were slow and weren’t producing the numbers, but in a recession we’re still coming up with the numbers. It’s just a goal of theirs to cut, cut, cut.”

Northcott believes the cut will translate to longer line-ups year round.

Despite local concerns around customer service, John Caines of Canada Post told the Star there would be no impact to customers.

“Our overall reduction is about two and a half hours a day,” he said.

“There will be no impact to our customers whatsoever. We wouldn’t do anything that would impact our customers negatively. That’s not the way to do business. We have to look out for our customers.”

Caines didn’t know when the decision was made, but did say counter transactions are down 10 per cent from this time last year.

“Letter mail is down and revenue at that post office is off. You have to look at the business realities of the situation and see how you can serve your customers in a more efficient manner,” he said.