MONTREAL, Feb. 13, 2015 /CNW/ - Unifor is taking its concerns around public safety to the bargaining table with CP Rail, after what the union calls the failure of the federal government to live up to its responsibility.
"Our members at CP inspect every single locomotive rail car and locomotive and conduct the necessary repairs," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "They need the ability to determine whether the car is safe to proceed. Right now they don't have it and in many cases, they are the last line of defense."
Current legislation surrounding the railways allow for self-regulation, which means that as long as the railway accepts responsibility for the damage, faulty railcars can proceed. "We saw how well self-regulation works – with the tragedy of Lac Mégantic," said Dias.
Unifor National Rail Director Brian Steven said that the number of Transport Canada safety officers has not increased in relation to the risk caused by shipping more and more dangerous products through communities right across the country. Stevens said that the Transport Canada inspection system is complaint-driven, meaning that no inspection happens until after an incident.
Unifor members have only 30 seconds to inspect each car or locomotive, cut in half from one minute. The number of people CP employs is also down from three years ago, by 1,500 people, including 600 Unifor members.
"Our federal government is failing to protect the public, so in this round of negotiations, we're going to deal with the issue at the bargaining table," said Dias.
Unifor represents approximately 1,800 workers at CP, where the collective agreement expired on December 31, 2014. Unifor represents 9,000 railway workers, and 305,000 members across the country in every sector of the economy.
For further information: Please contact Unifor Communications Shannon Devine 416-302-1699 [email protected]