Canada’s largest railway company could soon be facing strike action after union representatives issued a 72-hour notice over the weekend.
The Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference – which represents some 3,000 Canadian National Railway employees – gave notice on Saturday evening with the intention to strike from 4AM on Tuesday, May 30.
The move comes after Canadian Rail announced new work rules which include a two per cent wage increase but also the removal of a clause which requires the transport giant to consult with the union before making “material changes” such as terminal closures and mandatory relocations.
“We’re doing everything we can to avoid a strike, and Teamster members expect the same from management,” said Roland Hackl, TCRC vice president and lead negotiator for the union.
“The company will try to paint themselves as victims, when in reality, they’re likely to provoke a strike for the sole purpose of having an arbitrator possibly grant concessions.”
The new work rules have been introduced while both parties are still in the negotiation process, attempting to replace a contract that expired last year.
"We continue to negotiate in good faith with the assistance of a federally-appointed mediator in order to reach a fair agreement before the strike deadline,” said Mike Cory, EVP and COO of CN Rail.
“We are also offering to resolve our differences through binding arbitration with a neutral arbitrator. We remain optimistic that we can reach an agreement without a labour disruption."