CP lays off workers due to strike

by Array

CALGARY, Alberta: A strike by 4,800 Canadian Pacific Railway workers means the services of thousands of other employees won’t be needed, a spokesman for the railway.

“Unfortunately, with this unnecessary strike by the Teamsters, more than 2,000 other unionized CP employees will not be required and are being laid off,” said CP’s Ed Greenberg.

“We expect this to grow by another 1,400 employees as their work, related to the operations of the railroad, is no longer required.”

Greenberg said the layoffs could affect those who work in the yard, engineering and mechanical areas, essentially anyone who isn’t needed when trains aren’t running.

The possibility of future lay-offs will depend a great deal on the actions of the federal government.

Labour minister, Lisa Raitt, has already put a back-to-work notice on the order paper for the House of Commons. That’s the first step required before legislation is introduced to the House of Commons. The House isn’t sitting this week, but is due back on Monday, May 28, and it is expected the legislation will be brought before the house then, if CP and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) don’t come to a settlement on their own.

Opposition labour critic Alexandre Boulerice said he’s concerned the threat of back-to-work legislation will skew the balance at the negotiating table in favour of the company.

“Once again the Conservatives are taking only one side and by threatening the union and the workers with back-to-work legislation, it removes a lot of pressure from the employer,” said the Montreal NDP MP.

“It constitutes another attack against the rights of the workers to associate and to freely negotiate.”

Negotiations between the union and CP are still continuing. According to the union, some of the major points of contention are pensions, work rules and fatigue management.