CN Rail headed for Monday lockout

by The Canadian Press (CPSTF)

MONTREAL, Quebec—Canada National Railway appears to be headed for service disruption early next week, with the company saying it will lock out almost 5,000 of its employees Monday night.

The Montreal-based railway says the lockout of the 4,800 mechanical, intermodal and clerical workers represented by Unifor would begin at 11 p.m. Monday unless the union agreed to binding arbitration to settle contract differences.

The union, which has announced plans to begin a strike vote next week after the failure of five months of negotiations, quickly rejected the company ultimatum.

In announcing the planned lockout, CN CEO Claude Mongeau said the two sides won’t get any closer amid a month-long strike mandate process.

CN wants Unifor to focus on terms of a collective agreement that applies to its employees, rather than to match terms of its recent settlement with Canadian Pacific Railway. That deal includes a number of improvement such as rail safety and working conditions.

Mongeau also said there would be no need for government intervention if both sides agree to arbitration, a process that has been used many times in the past.