Canadian government invokes 'red tape rule' to prevent rail strike

The TCRC rail workers’ union in Canada has hit back at the “incredibly frustrating” decision taken by the minister of labour to prevent the impending strike on the grounds that disruption to services could “endanger the health or safety of the public”. 

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference called for industrial action against rail operators Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) after five months of unsuccessful negotiations.  

A strike was set for 22 May, and would have impacted Canada’s entire rail network for both passenger and freight, unless a deal was reached before then.  

However, minister of labour Seamus O’Regan last week requested clarity from the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) on whether certain rail services could be deemed as essential, and therefore must be maintained during a labour disruption.  

The Loadstar

Continue reading

PSA BDP continues to actively monitor a potential strike situation with the major railroads in Canada. Contracts covering locomotive engineers, conductors, and yard workers at the CN and CPKC expired at the end of last year.  Earlier in the month, CN and CPKC workers voted to strike as early as May 22nd (as there is a mandatory 21-day period of federal mediation). On Friday, May 10, the Ministry of Labor involved the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB). The involvement of CIRB means that a legal strike or lockout cannot occur until CIRB renders its decision, in which no timeline is set.  While shippers may view this as a positive development, it does not guarantee a strike will not happen once the CIRB decides.

PSA BDP supports customers on contingency plans in the event of a strike, with our drayage, transloading, and long-haul providers. PSA BDP also reminds shippers that some Transatlantic and Transpacific routings to and from the U.S. Midwest may move via a Canadian port and utilize the CN or CPKC. BDP Transport can assist customers with alternate transportation options and routings to mitigate disruptions in the event of a strike. PSA BDP aims to work closely with customers to review each shipment and provide guidance and cost analysis to support business decisions.

Please reach out to your local PSA BDP representative for any questions or concerns you may have.