Closure begins at CP Rail as union and company continue negotiations

The company and the union are pointing fingers at each other for the shutdown of Canadian Pacific Railway operations that began on Sunday as both sides remained at the bargaining table.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, which represents some 3,000 engineers, conductors, yard workers and other train employees, released a statement just before midnight saying a lockout was being initiated by railroad management. Calgary-based railway.

But hours later, the company issued a statement saying that while the company was still engaged in contract talks facilitated by federal mediators, the CFTC “withdrew its services and issued a press release misrepresenting the state talks”. He added that CP was working with its customers to reduce its operations across Canada.

The union then issued a subsequent statement indicating that in addition to the lockout, members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference were also on strike at CP across the country and that picketing was underway at various locations around the Canadian Pacific.

Federal Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan’s office said in a statement that although the work stoppage has begun, both sides are still at the negotiating table with mediators and it expects that “the parties continue to work until they reach an agreement”. The more than two dozen outstanding issues in the dispute include wages, benefits and pensions.

Last week, about 45 industry groups warned that any disruption to rail service would hamper Canada’s freight capacity and hurt the economy as a whole as it grapples with inflation, shortages of products, rising fuel prices and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

CP Rail had issued 72 hours’ notice to the CFTC of its intention to implement a lockout on Sunday if the union and the company failed to reach a negotiated settlement or agree to binding arbitration.

The union said in its statement that it wanted to continue negotiations, but “unfortunately the employer has chosen to put Canada’s supply chain and tens of thousands of jobs at risk.”

CFTC spokesman Dave Fulton called the turn of events “disappointing”, saying the railroad should be “reprimanded” for the decision.

He said the union was prepared to explore an arbitrator’s decision, but was unable to reach an agreement with the employer.

“They set the deadline for a lockout to happen tonight as we were ready to continue negotiations,” he said. “More so, they then moved the goal post when it came time to discuss the terms of final and binding arbitration.”

CP, for its part, blamed the union for the closure.

“This is a clear breach of the CFTC Negotiating Committee’s responsibility to negotiate in good faith,” he said in his statement.