Job cuts at CP Rail threaten improved rail safety, CAW says

    TORONTO, Feb. 16 /CNW/ - At a time when Canada's rail industry has come
under intense public scrutiny to protect safety Canadian Pacific Railway's
recent decision to cut workers responsible for conducting safety inspections
and repair work on rail cars at eight Ontario locations is absurd and must be
stopped, said CAW Local 101 President Tom Murphy.
    Murphy said the decision to layoff over sixty CP Rail Mechanical forces
poses a significant threat to progress on improving rail safety.
    "Mechanical maintenance jobs are one of the most important pieces needed
to ensure rail transportation is operating as safely as possible," Murphy
said. "The federal government must intervene in order to reverse these
layoffs, which could put Canadian lives at risk."
    The company's decision comes only weeks after a third major train
derailment took place near Ottawa and at a time when the rail industry is
under increased pressure to ensure strong public safety measures are in place
to avoid future incidents.
    Mechanical forces at CP Rail facilities in Welland, London, Lampton,
Toronto, Vaughan, Alliston, Oshawa and Windsor (where the company plans to
shut the rail yard entirely) will be impacted by these cuts. The company has
cited the recent economic downturn as the main reason for these layoffs.
    "There is no question that the economic slowdown is taking a toll on
Canada's rail industry, but it is not acceptable to compromise safety," said
Bob Chernecki, Assistant to CAW National President Ken Lewenza. "If the
company doesn't live up to its responsibility to ensure the public is safe
then it's up to our federal government to step in and show leadership."
    This recent announcement of job cuts brings the national total of
Mechanical forces on layoff to 300. Cuts at CP Rail's Winnipeg, Calgary,
Montreal and B.C. facilities were announced in December.
    CAW Local 101 represents 2,400 Mechanical forces at CP Rail in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Angelo DiCaro, CAW Communications, (416)
606-6311; or Tom Murphy, President CAW Local 101, (403) 813-4850

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Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

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