Via Rail receives 72-hour strike notice, risk of suspension

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Via Rail says services across Canada could be suspended next week, after it received a 72-hour strike notice from the union representing approximately of its 2,400 employees.


In a notice on its website, Unifor said if an agreement cannot be reached by 12:01 a.m. on Monday, June 11, maintenance workers, on-board service personnel, chefs, sales agents and customer service staff will be on the picket line.


It said both Unifor Council 4000 and Unifor Local 100 conducted strike votes from June 20 to July 1, and the results were 99.4 per cent in favour of strike action at Local 100 and 99.3 per cent in favour of strike action from Council 4000 members.


Unifor said a main issue is job security, and its members are frustrated the company “continues to push concessions and not work towards a fair and equitable collective agreement.”


In its own release, Via Rail said it remains committed to holding negotiations in good faith in an effort to reach a new agreement without any disruption of service before the deadline.


However, it warned that if the two sides cannot reach a deal, all services would be suspended for the duration of the strike and until normal operations can safely resume.


The company said the potential work disruption comes at a time when it has resumed nearly all of its services, and it recognized this would be a major disruption for passengers and for communities across the country.


Via Rail said affected passengers may change their reservation at no cost or request a full refund for unused tickets.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2022.

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