Fair and reasonable offer should avoid a strike
MONTREAL, June 13, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Yesterday, VIA Rail Canada
presented a global offer to the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union which
if accepted will avert a strike set to begin on June 14 at 12:01
Eastern Daylight Time. The main elements of the global offer are:
With respect to the terms of the collective agreements:
Wage increases of 2% in 2013, 2% in 2014, and 2% in 2015;
Existing benefit plans are maintained;
Work rules are improved; and
Existing job security provisions for full time employees are maintained.
With respect to pensions:
An increase in employee contributions in order to maintain the existing
Defined Benefit pension plan for current unionized employees; and
A new hybrid Defined Benefit/Defined Contribution pension plan for new
employees hired as of 2014.
"We feel this is a fair and reasonable offer," said Marc Laliberté, the
President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail Canada. "Unlike other
companies in the rail industry, VIA is a Crown corporation. We have an
obligation to make the best use of taxpayer monies. Our latest
operating subsidy was $279 million, and our pension plan for unionized
employees shows a deficit of $419 million, which is putting significant
cost pressures on our bottom line. This offer, in particular the parts
related to pensions, will help ensure the sustainability of both our
company and the pension plans, and that's in the long-term best
interests of our employees."
In 2012, VIA Rail bore 65% of the current service costs for the
unionized pension plan, while unionized employees bore 35%; with the
increase in employee contributions proposed by VIA, the cost-sharing
split will be 50/50 by 2016. Also in 2012, the solvency deficit for
VIA's plan for unionized employees ($419 million) was nearly twice what
VIA earned in total revenues ($277.6 million).
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.
In the event of a work stoppage, VIA Rail will continue to offer basic
rail services using qualified management employees. More information
about VIA Rail's contingency plan can be found on VIA Rail's website at
www.viarail.ca/en/collective-bargaining or by contacting 1 888 VIA-RAIL (842-7245), 1 800 268-9503 (hearing
During these negotiations, VIA Rail is keeping passengers and the public
informed of any development through its website at www.viarail.ca, on Facebook or Twitter @VIA_rail.
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate
is to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation
service, in both official languages of our country. VIA operates
intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities
across its 12,500-kilometre route network. Recipient of the Railway
Association of Canada's Safety Award in 2011 for the 11th time in 12
years, and of the 2012 Agent's Choice Award voted by Canadian travel
agents and presented by Baxter Travel Media, VIA safely transports nearly four million passengers
annually. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested almost a
billion dollars in VIA Rail. Follow the progress of our transformation
Follow us on our Evolution Blog at www.viaevolution.ca.
SOURCE: VIA Rail Canada Inc.
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