(OTTAWA) Canadians expect the dispute at Canadian Pacific to be resolved quickly, federal Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan said Sunday, hours after the work stoppage began.
Already, many organizations are pressuring the minister to intervene to end the conflict. However, a spokesperson for Mr. O’Regan said the government continues to believe that the best way to resolve this dispute is through a negotiated solution.
“Negotiations always come with challenges, but you have to overcome them to get the deal you want. CP and CFTC continue their work today. Canadians are counting on a quick resolution,” said on Twitter, Sunday morning.
More than 3,000 Canadian Pacific employees — locomotive engineers, conductors, trainmen and yardmen — represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) find themselves on the picket line after failed final negotiations.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce President Perrin Beatty has already called for special legislation to end the work stoppage.
“This work stoppage will have a negative impact on all Canadian businesses, large and small, that depend on the railway for their supply,” he said.
This is hurting Canadian supply chains at a time of great uncertainty. It will go beyond our borders and harm our reputation as reliable business partners on a global scale.
Perrin Beatty, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
The House of Commons will resume on Monday after a two-week break. The federal government could introduce a bill as early as this week if it wants to.
Fertilizer Canada has also called for “immediate action” from the federal government.
“The interruption of essential rail service during the crucial planting season will have devastating impacts on farmers, the economy and food security, both in Canada and abroad,” the organization wrote. .
Strike or lockout?
Management and the union each blame the opposing party for this work stoppage, which is hitting a supply chain that has already been severely disrupted in recent months.
Canadian Pacific announced a 72-hour ultimatum on Wednesday. If there was no agreement at the end of this period, the company would lock out the employees.
A CP spokesman, Patrick Waldron, said the employer party presented a new offer to the CFTC on Saturday in the presence of federal mediators.
“We haven’t received a response,” he said.
He blamed the union for starting to ask employees to leave their posts before midnight. For him, it was the CFTC that called a strike, not the management that imposed a lockout.
“Let’s be clear, the CFTC has called a unilateral strike. CP has not locked out its employees,” he insisted.
Mr. Waldron said the company wanted to continue negotiations, but is calling for an end to industrial action. He added that CP supported any government intervention. According to him, the conduct of the union is “dishonest and irresponsible”.
As of 12:03 a.m. Sunday morning, the CFTC issued a statement accusing the company of imposing a lockout. She blamed CP management for putting the Canadian supply chain and tens of thousands of jobs at risk.
After a pandemic, the explosion in the prices of foodstuffs and products, the war in Ukraine, the rail carrier adds a layer of insecurity among Canadians, particularly those who depend on the rail network.
Excerpt from CFTC press release
A few hours later, a second communiqué announced a lockout and a strike.
“We are very disappointed with the turn of events,” said Dave Fulton, spokesman for the CFTC at the negotiating table in the first press release. Canadian Pacific management must take full responsibility for the situation. […] What’s more [l’employeur] then changed the rules of the game at the last minute when it came time to discuss the terms of a final and binding arbitration. »
Waldron said Canadian Pacific was safely suspending service across the country.
Management and the union have been negotiating since September. Salaries and pension funds are among the main points in dispute. The union also wants to settle the question of where employees must take their mandatory rest period.
This is the fifth work stoppage at Canadian Pacific since 1993. During the last nine negotiations, the two parties have had recourse to federal conciliators eight times.