Spring has just arrived and Canada Post is continuing its howling regarding declining Lettermail volumes as it releases the Annual Financial Report for the year 2012.
Canada Post is using the release of the Annual Financial Report for the year 2012 to make sure that no opportunity will be missed in the year 2013 to impose further cuts to services, to our wages and working conditions. We will have to be very vigilant in our assessment of the Annual Financial Report for the year 2012. Also, we will have to carry on with developing our own independent views and analysis regarding the way forward for Canada Post and the Canadian economy.
The local executive committee will have to pay first rate attention to this question in order to be able to meet the media and monopoly corporate barrage regarding the so-called “financial viability” of Canada Post while Deepack Chopra and the Harper government continue to pave the way for the outright privatization of the most lucrative sections of the Canadian post office.
Canada Post announces a before-tax profit of $127 million in 2012 for the Canada Post Group of Companies
On April 17, 2013 Canada Post announced a before-tax profit of $127 million in 2012 for the Canada Post Group of Companies. The Canada Post segment had a before-tax profit of $98 million in 2012. The press release states: “this result was created by non-recurring, non-cash adjustments worth approximately $152 million”.
The press release also points out: “These adjustments are largely due to reductions in the future costs of sick leave and post-retirement benefits. These savings are a result of reaching new collective agreements with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in December 2012. Without the non-cash adjustments, the Canada Post segment would have incurred a before-tax loss of $54 million in 2012. For the Group of Companies, the before-tax loss would have been $25 million”.
Another feature of Canada Post’s announcement is its continued howling regarding declining Lettermail volumes. According to the press release, Lettermail volume has declined by 6.4% in the year 2012. The press release says that Canadians mailed almost one billion fewer pieces of domestic Lettermail in 2012 than they did in 2006. It is also said, that almost 30% of that decline has occurred in the year 2012 alone as domestic Lettermail volumes fell by 6.4% compared to the year 2011.
The press release further states: “Widespread adoption of digital alternatives to paper mail is a major driver of this volume erosion. Compared to 2008, Canada Post is now delivering 23.6% less Transaction Mail per address. As a result, Canada Post expects a substantial financial loss in 2013”.
A close look at the Annual Financial Report for the year 2012, reveals that revenue from operations for the year 2012 was reported stable at $7.5 billion which shows very clearly that despite slowly declining Lettermail volumes, overall revenues from operations have not declined the least and have stayed at the same levels for the past 5 years while increasing by over $1 billion since the 2003 period. This is so because of the increases in volumes for parcels, direct marketing, e-commerce and other digital alternative mail processing.
The overall mail volumes in billions of pieces of mail have been declining somewhat since 2008 when mail volumes peaked at 11.8 billion of pieces of mail. This decline in overall mail volumes in billions of pieces of mail since 2008 is due to the slow decline of domestic Lettermail volumes. In 2012, the overall mail volumes in billions of pieces of mail stood at 9.8 down by two billion pieces since the 2008 period and slightly lower than the 10.1 figure recorded in 2011. However, in 2003 the figure stood at 10.7 and at 10.9 for the year 2004 before the domestic Lettermail volumes even started declining.
What Canada Post is doing is that it is playing with the statistics, organising them around and reporting them in such a way as to create hysteria regarding the impending “financial viability” of the Corporation and the “value” of the exclusive privilege which they claim have eroded significantly.
However, the decline in overall billions of pieces of mail since 2003 is from 10.7 compared to 10.1 figure obtain in 2011 and to 9.8 in 2012 which represents an overall loss of less than one billion pieces of mail since the 2003 period. This fact represents half of the amount of the overall mail volume that Canada Post actually claims to have lost.
For Canada Post Corporation, the 9.8 billion of pieces of mail it processes annually is treated as an insignificant volume while it actually represents an extremely large volume of mail still requiring to be processed. The $7.5 billion annually in operating revenues is also presented in the same fashion. It is the drive for the making of maximum amount of capitalist profits that is inspiring Canada Post to claim that the “financial viability” of the corporation is in trouble and that the exclusive privilege is being significantly eroded.
In reporting the $98 million profit for the Canada Post segment, the press release also further points out: “Reduced future costs were negotiated in the new collective agreements Canada Post signed with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) on December 21, 2012. The agreements are a welcome first step in reaching a shared understanding with our employees and their representatives about the seriousness of Canada Post’s financial challenges. The agreements provide for:
- Lower starting wages for new hires
- No wage increase for the year 2015-2016
- Changes to pension eligibility for new employees
- A higher employee premium for post-retirement health care benefits
- The elimination of the previous banked sick leave provisions for the last group of employees at Canada Post to fall under a more affordable Short Term Disability Program.
Canada Post says it must continue to “explore and pursue opportunities to reshape its business and adjust its labour costs in order to meet Canadians’ changing needs for postal services”.
In the preface of the Annual Financial Report for the year 2012, “Understanding the Financial Results”, Canada Post says: “The group of Companies reported a loss in 2011, essentially due to the performance of the Canada Post segment. The Group expects to incur a substantial loss again in 2013. In fact, an accounting profit alone is not a sign that Canada Post can afford to conduct business as usual”.
Once again, it appear that obtaining contract concessions from postal workers and the Union was a strategic aim of Canada Post Corporation during the last round of negotiations designed to increase productivity and profitability, something which was achieved using extortion, blackmail and the back- to-work legislation by the Harper government.
For all intents and purposes, Canada Post appears to also be resolute in imposing the same course of action as in the previous years for the year 2013 which will translate into further cuts to services for the Canadian people and further demands for concessions from the workers unless of course, we succeed in changing the direction of the economy and that of Canada Post Corporation from one of defence of monopoly right to one of serving workers in general and the public good.
In Ottawa–Solidarity Against Austerity is organising a rally on the occasion of May First, International Working Class Day
Solidarity Against Austerity (SAA), a network of community, student, labour, peace, environmental and anti-poverty organizations is organising a rally on the occasion of May First, International Working Class Day, to oppose cuts to our public services and to defend workers’ rights.
According to the poster promoting the event, two gatherings will take place. One will take place at the University of Ottawa, Morisset Terrace, and the other at McNabb Park, 180 Percy Street on Wednesday, May First at 6:00pm. The rally will then march through the streets of downtown Ottawa with pots and pans and will converge in front of the Prime Ministers’ Office at Wellington and Sparks Street at 8:00pm, two hours later.
Solidary Against Austerity writes on its website: “Our government and corporate elite are deploying measures of austerity that are leading to the depletion of our much valued social and public services, an increase in criminalization and racialization of our communities, continuous colonial and environmentally racist practices against indigenous peoples and lands, and supporting war that are killing innocent civilians.”
Also being organized is a contingent of postal workers against the austerity of Canada Post’s “Postal Transformation Initiative” which will join the gathering at McNabb Park at 6:00pm. Many postal workers will be attending including the former CUPW National President, Jean-Claude Parrot. This gathering will also stop at a retail outlet to protest all the cuts that have taken place in the post office retail network since last year. Those organising the contingent of postal workers are asking that the participants wear the letter carrier headlight and CUPW clothing.
The invitation to attend the rally asks for everyone to be creative with signs and costumes and to bring with them noise makers. For more information, go to the Solidarity Against Austerity website at Solidarity Against Austerity-Ottawa or to Facebook at www.facebook.com/Solidarity Against Austerity. You can also obtain more information on the event by contacting Diane Mitchell, CUPW Ottawa local executive committee member and dock worker at the OMPP who is one of the host for the rally.