VIA Rail braces for strike

Talks continue with CAW, but railway unveils contingency plan to offer basic rail services
||Last Updated: 06/11/2013

Talks are continuing between VIA Rail Canada and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union as the clock ticks towards the deadline of June 14 at 12:01 a.m. EDT.

But VIA Rail has released its contingency plan to offer what it calls “basic rail services” in case a labour disruption hits.

“In the event of a work stoppage, VIA Rail will continue to offer basic rail services using qualified management employees,” it said in a press release. “The plan provides for daily morning and end-of-day departures in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, and once-a-week service on long distance and remote service trains.”

The exception will be trains between Sudbury, Ont., and White River, Ont., that will operate according to normal schedule.

"VIA Rail remains committed to negotiating a fair agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers, in a bid to avoid any disruption to the travel plans of its customers," said Marc Laliberté, president and CEO of VIA Rail Canada. "At the same time we want to confirm that a basic service plan is ready to be put in place on all our routes, including remote areas of the country, to ensure that Canadians can continue to travel by train should there be a work stoppage."

VIA Rail and the CAW (which represents service, sales office and maintenance personnel), have been in negotiations since the fall of 2012. Parties have been in conciliation since April and are now currently in mediation, according to VIA.

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