MONTREAL, June 21 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada is currently negotiating with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), which represents some 2,200 employees who provide services in stations, telephone sales offices, on-board trains, maintenance centres and in offices. Locomotive engineers, who are represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), are under contract and are not part of these negotiations.
The previous CAW collective agreement expired December 31, 2009, and talks with the union have been ongoing since last October. Federal mediators are assisting the parties in the negotiating process and talks are expected to continue until at least midnight June 27th.
VIA remains optimistic that a negotiated agreement will be reached. Nonetheless, in the event of a work stoppage, VIA has developed a contingency plan for the provision of basic train service on all its routes. This plan, which is posted on viarail.ca, includes using fully qualified VIA locomotive engineers as well as qualified management employees. VIA would operate daily morning and end-of-day departures in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor and once-a-week service on all trains outside the corridor with some exceptions.
VIA services between Sudbury - White River (Ontario) and Victoria - Courtenay (British Columbia) are operated by a third party and will continue to operate as normal.
"Because the CAW has been given a strike mandate by its membership, VIA must act now to look after our customers by ensuring continuity of basic train service and by providing as much information as possible," said VIA President and CEO Marc Laliberté. "We encourage passengers to continue booking with VIA, with our assurance that we will make new information available to the public as soon as it becomes available."
The CAW must provide VIA at least 72 hours notice of its intention to initiate a work stoppage.
No disruption in service due to these negotiations is expected prior to June 28, 2010.
Customers wishing to book tickets should visit viarail.ca where information will be updated regularly. Customers with inquiries concerning their individual travel plans may contact VIA at 888 VIA-RAIL (842-7245) or 800 268-9503 (hearing impaired).
SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.
For further information: For further information: VIA Media Contacts: Malcolm Andrews, 514-871-6119, Malcolm_Andrews@viarail.ca; Catherine Kaloutsky, 416-956-7683, Catherine_Kaloutsky@viarail.ca