MONTREAL, Dec. 12, 2018 /CNW/ - As Unifor members were protesting in seven Canadian cities, VIA Rail Canada awarded a $989-million contract to a German company that will build trains for Canada's passenger rail service.
"This is a betrayal of Canadian workers and taxpayers who fund VIA Rail and who expect this crown corporation to show some loyalty by creating jobs here to build our economy," said Jerry Dias, Unifor's National President.
Earlier today Unifor launched a petition asking Transport Minister Marc Garneau to protect good Canadian jobs by keeping VIA Rail work in Canada.
Instead, VIA Rail selected Siemens, a German company over Bombardier Inc. for a $989-million contract. Rather than having Canada's fleet of locomotives and cars built here, that work will now be done in California, leaving hundreds if not thousands of Canadians out of work.
Garneau has defended this controversial deal saying free trade agreements would not allow VIA to favour Canadian companies like Bombardier, who could have done this work here in Canada.
"That is nonsense. Garneau has allowed VIA to hide behind trade agreements when we know VIA is an independent crown corporation that could have chosen a Canadian company like Bombardier without showing favoritism," said Dias.
"There are many other factors to consider when you decide to put thousands of Canadians out of work with the stroke of a pen."
All this comes at a time when Unifor Local 1075 members who work at to Bombardier Transportation in Thunder Bay are worried about their futures as projects allocated to the plant are scheduled to come to an end in 2019.
Unifor's protests will continue today with information pickets in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, and Moncton.
Canada's passenger rail service needs 32 new trains to maintain capacity, at a time when the union believes it should be expanding service across Canada and creating more good jobs in this country's transportation sector.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: please contact Unifor Director of Communications Natalie Clancy at [email protected] or 416-707-5794 (cell) or Quebec communications representative Marie-Andrée L'Heureux [email protected] or 514-916-7373 (cell).