Rail disruption feared as VIA Rail workers threaten strike

VIA Rail said talks will continue between both parties involved

Rail disruption feared as VIA Rail workers threaten strike

VIA Rail Canada may be forced to suspend its passenger services following a 72-hour strike notice issued by unions after talks failed to progress between both parties.

Unifor Council 4000 and Local 100 issued a 72-hour notice on Thursday after members overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action.

This means that if no deal is reached by Monday, more than 2,000 maintenance workers, on-board service personnel, chef, sales agents, and customer service staff will be on the picket line instead of work.

"VIA Rail workers are frustrated that the employer continues to push concessions and not work towards a fair and equitable collective agreement for our members," said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to Unifor's National President and lead negotiator, in a statement.

"Unifor members at VIA are highly skilled and contributed to the success of the company. We will do whatever it takes to get members the collective agreement that they deserve."

Read more: Strike cancelled! No interruptions for Belleville Transit today

About 2,400 workers of VIA Rail Canada are members of Unifor, and the rail transport company said in a statement that disruptions in their operations may take place once the strike occurs.

"Unfortunately, if no agreement is reached, VIA Rail will be forced to suspend all services for the duration of the strike and until normal operations can safely resume," said VIA Rail president and chief executive officer Martin Landry in a statement.

Despite this, Landry said that talks will continue between them and Unifor so both parties can reach a deal.

"VIA Rail has made every effort to reach an agreement with Unifor. We continue to talk with the union and remain committed to negotiating a fair and reasonable contract," he said.

To affected passengers, the company said it will waive service charges for affected passengers who may want to change reservations or fully refund their tickets.

"We deeply regret that it will negatively impact our efforts to support the recovery of Canada's tourism industry and cut off the essential role we play in transporting Canadians, and connecting many remote communities including indigenous communities."

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