About 2,000 people have been laid off as a result of a strike by CP Rail employees
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A strike by some railroad employees has led to layoffs for others.
Around 4,800 engineers, traffic controllers and conductors at CP Rail walked off the job Wednesday at midnight after the company and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union failed to reach an agreement. The workers’ contract expired last December. The strike has shut down rail traffic for the company.
As a result, 2,000 car men and other unionized employees at the company have been laid off.
Teamsters division 243 picket captain Randy Mior, who represents around 150 local striking workers, said the move is unfortunate.
“We regret that the company is now laying off more employees because the trains aren’t running,” he said Thursday morning.
Moir said both union and management are still far apart at the bargaining table and a conciliator has been called in.
“They’re still talking that’s a good thing,” he said.
While federal labour minister Lisa Raitt has said she wants the two sides to work it out on their own, she has back-to-work legislation ready for Monday if an agreement can’t be reached. Raitt has said the strike could cost the Canadian economy a conservative $540 million every week. Moir said the workers expected Raitt to make the call.
“I guess we’re happy that they let us walk out to begin with, that they didn’t legislate us back to work right off the bat,” he said. “At least we’re out here and we’re getting the word out that we don’t want the cuts.”
The cuts include a 40 per cent pension reduction, which would cost each worker around $20,000 a year Moir said. The company also wants to reduce benefits and force longer working hours. Moir said management could compromise but is refusing to even though CP Rail makes millions of dollars a year.
“All their managers and everybody else, they increased their pension, their wages and all they want to do is cut the guys at the bottom,” he said. “”We’d just like them to leave (the pension) alone.”
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