• Agreement comes after months of protracted negotiations
  • Postal carrier faces declining volume, growing pensions

Canada’s government-owned postal carrier and its unionized workers reached a two-year accord after months of protracted negotiations, defusing the threat of an impending strike.

Canada Post said the “tentative short-term agreements" with the union will bring "much-needed certainty in the postal system for our employees and customers." The pacts still need to be ratified by members, according to the statement, which didn’t provide further details.

Agreements in the past have been for four years. The shorter deal will give the carrier some breathing room to deal with complex issues including declining mail volumes and growing pension obligations, it said.

Canada Post, like its global peers, is struggling to adjust to eroding mail volumes as customers turn to the Internet for communicating and paying bills. Canada Post made 8.9 billion deliveries according to its 2015 annual report. Mail deliveries have fallen every year since 2006 for a total decline per address of 39 percent.

The union edged closer to a strike last week when it filed a 72-hour job action notice as contract negotiations broke down. The workers said the discussions were at risk because Canada Post was seeking to fire up to 1,200 staff and increase pension contribution rates.

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