CN conductors’ union sees labour strife ‘likely’

The union representing Canadian National Railway’s conductors, yardmen, trainmen and traffic co-ordinators says talks toward a new contract are “likely” on track for another labour dispute.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) reported Monday that CN is already seeking conciliation in talks toward new contracts for about 3,300 affected staff.

The TCRC’s previous collective agreement with CN for those staff expired July 22, but CN “doesn’t seem to want to negotiate directly with the union,” the TCRC said in a release.

The union warned the situation “could therefore end up being a repeat of the 2010 negotiations when a strike was narrowly avoided.”

“CN is once again trying to get us to make concessions that would see our members work longer hours, be onboard the trains, have less rest time between each trip and perform more work when alone,” TCRC negotiator Roland Hackl said in a release.

The company’s stated aim is to “eliminate artificial restrictions,” the union said, but the Teamsters maintain “the concessions will reduce the number of workers and increase the workload and hours of those who remain.”

“The railway’s attitude will more than likely lead to a labour dispute,” Hackl said Monday.

The same bargaining unit ratified a three-year deal in November 2010 following a round of what were then described as “last-chance” meetings with a federal mediator.

The company and union by that point were in position to launch a lockout or strike respectively with 72 hours’ notice. — Network

Related story:
CN conductors ratify three-year labour deal, Nov. 16, 2010

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