CALGARY, Alta. — The nation may be heading for its second railway strike this year as contract talks between CP Rail and its maintenance workers have broken off.
“At this point, it does not seem that we’re getting back to the table again,” union leader William Brehl told the media Friday shortly after consulting with the federal mediator assigned to the negotiations.
Canadian Pacific’s track maintenance and expansion employees have been without a contract since September 2006. The union is in position to begin a legal strike with 72 hours notice.
For its part, CP Rail says it will not bend to union pressure and plans to deploy 1,200 trained managers to take over maintenance duties should a strike be called.
“We really hope that won’t happen but in situations like this you have to keep the railway running, and we will,” CP Rail president Fred Green said Friday in his address to the company’s annual meeting in Calgary. “While this is unfortunate, we will not meet the demands of this union leader, which is a substantial premium to other agreements that we have signed after fair negotiations.
At issue are changes in health premium payments, wage increases, and quality of life concerns.
The Teamsters’ Maintenance of Way Employees Division members responsible for track maintenance and expansion have been without a contract since September 2006. They want a wage increase of 4 per cent over four years, and CP Rail has offered 3 per cent, in line with other union contact packages.
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