An important round of talks will begin this weekend. 

Staring at a potential strike or lockout as early as next week, top Canada Post officials will be sitting down with the union, Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

CUPW says its National President and Canada Post's Interim President are hoping to unblock stalled negotiations.

The two sides have been bargaining separate contracts for the carrier's urban and rural employees for nine months with no success.

And postal workers in North Bay are keeping a close eye on the latest negotiations.

A solidarity protest took place this morning.

There are between 80 to 100 employees in North Bay who could be affected by a potential strike and an additional 40 workers from Sturgeon Falls to Mattawa also face job uncertainty.

They say health and safety concerns and better wages are their key issues.

Keith Bradford is the President of CUPW Local 576.

 “As long as we're at the table, then we're closer together then we are far apart. Hopefully this weekend with the presidents talking to each other, try to get through any deadlocks that they are having at the table, hopefully we can see a negotiating settlement soon." said Bradford.

Union members voted earlier this month in support of a strike.

The union says it would not issue a mandatory 72-hour strike notice if there was progress at the bargaining table.