Ottawa tables back-to-work legislation for striking CN workers

Feds say three-day-old strike could threaten economic recovery
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 12/04/2009

Just two days after 1,700 Canadian National Railway locomotive engineers went on strike, the federal government has tabled back-to-work legislation.

On Monday, the government said the strike, which started on Saturday, would threaten the country's economic recovery.

Ports in Halifax and Prince Rupert, B.C., are totally reliant upon CN to transport goods. CN also handles half of the rail shipments that go through Vancouver and 30 per cent of those through Montreal, said the government.

The earliest the bill can pass is Dec. 2. The legislation would order an immediate end to the strike and send both parties to binding arbitration.

Issues on the table include a 1.5-per-cent wage increase, offered by CN, and increasing the maximum distance engineers can travel in one month by 800 kilometres to 6,900 kilometres.

The Teamsters union, which represents the engineers, said the distance increase would make some members redundant and would lead to layoffs.

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