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Canadian Pacific Railway Shutdown Ends

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The Canadian Pacific Railway and 3,000 Teamsters have agreed to binding arbitration to end a brief rail shutdown. The nation’s largest rail network suspended all freight for 60 hours.

In a statement, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference said the decision to agree to a final and binding arbitration was “not taken lightly”.

“While arbitration is not the preferred method, we were able to negotiate terms and conditions that were in the best interest of our members,” the statement read, adding questions about wages and pension terms were still “outstanding.”

Blacklock’s reporter said Labour minister Seamus O’Regan told the House of Commons the federal government has “always respected the collective bargaining process,” and that, “the best, most durable deals are made at the table.”

“They stayed at the table, and they put in the hard work to come to a resolution,” O’Regan said.

Liberal MP Kody Blois (Kings-Hants, NS), chair of the Commons agriculture committee, said Federal arbitrators were working with federal mediators to find a solution.

“Canadians know how important rail service is to be able to move essential goods across the country, whether or not it is input for farmers and ranchers or being able to take the bountiful harvest of those ranchers and farmers and producers and get it to export markets,” MP Blois said.

Up to 80 percent of Canadian goods are shipped by railway, including grains, oil seeds and fertiliser. “We watched with concern the ongoing situation with Canadian Pacific Rail.”

Parliament previously passed back-to-work bills to end previous national rail strikes in 1950, 1966, 1973, 1987, 1995 and 2012. However, a 2019 stoppage at Canadian National Railway ended without legislation after eight days, following the New Democrats’ statement they would never vote for the measure in a minority Parliament.

New democrat leader Jagmeet Singh said at the time that the party opposed back-to-work legislation. “Workers are entitled and have the right to be able to strike,” he told reporters. “They should be able to express their concerns and negotiate freely and they should not at all be forced back to work.”

The last minority parliament to force an end to a national rail strike was in 1973, when MPs on summer recess were summoned back to Ottawa to end a five-week shutdown at Canadian National. Parliament accelerated the passage of the bill after the dispute led to the closure of a General Motors plant at St Catherines, Ontario and a Cominco Ltd mill in Trail, BC.

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