July 24, 2009

Canadian train strike talks at impasse

Canada's national passenger train operator said Friday labor negotiations with locomotive engineers had stalled and a midday strike shutdown was possible.

The parties were unfortunately unable to reach an agreement, and the negotiations are currently at an impasse, a statement by VIA Rail said. Barring a last-minute resolution, VIA will have no choice but to cease operations of Canada's national passenger rail service.

Talks have been going on all week between the company and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union, which represents 340 engineers, who have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2006.

The issues of contention are wages, benefits, working conditions and terms of workers' contracts, the Canwest News Service reported.

Wednesday, VIA announced cancellations of several cross-country routes to avoid stranding passengers in the event of a strike.