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Ottawa legislating striking CN rail engineers back to work

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Well, that didn’t take long. Just two days after negotiations between CN Rail and the Te...


OTTAWA, Ont. — Well, that didn’t take long. Just two days after negotiations between CN Rail and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference fell apart and the nation’s shippers faced a strike situation, the federal government introduced legislation Monday to end the strike.

The ruling Conservatives called the strike a threat to the anaemic economic recovery that is taking root (on the same day Statistics Canada declared the recession officially over in Canada after the third quarter posted 0.4% annualized growth).

The back to work bill is expected to pass within days, sending outstanding issues between the two sides to binding arbitration.

“This is more than a private dispute between CN Rail and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference,” Labour Minister Rona Ambrose told the media. “It has serious repercussions for the national economy at a time when Canada’s recovery from the global recession is still fragile.”

Qualified engineers from CN management have been trying to keep the trains running since 1,700 locomotive engineers hit the picket lines Saturday morning.

CN Rail is offering a 1.5% wage increase and wants to hike the maximum distance engineers can travel in one month by 800 kilometres to 6,900 kilometres. The union counters that the hike in the distance cap would require some staff to work seven days a week, and cause layoffs.


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