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CN Rail, Union Seek Arbitration After Talks Fail

Canadian National Railway Co. and the union represent ing 1,700 locomotive engineers will submit unresolved wage and benefits issues to binding arbitration after talks failed to yield a deal, the company said Dec. 13.

Canada’s largest railway resumed labour talks with the Teamsters union on Dec. 3 after a brief strike. The company and union had agreed to put outstanding issues to binding arbitration if no agreement was reached.CN

said talks ended on Dec. 12 without a settlement.

“The federal minister of labour will now appoint an arbitrator, who will have 90 days following his or her appointment to report to the minister with a final decision on a new collective agreement,” the company said in a statement.

“Nothing precludes CN or the (union) from agreeing to further negotiations once the arbitration process starts.”

The railway said no further strike action is permitted under the dispute resolution mechanism, nor can CN lock out the union.

Engineers went on strike after CN unilaterally imposed a 1.5 per cent wage increase and raised their monthly mileage cap to 6,900 km from 6,100 km after 14 months of negotiation failed to produce a new contract.

Under a deal to end the strike, CN agreed to roll back the imposed monthly mileage cap and wage increase.

The engineers’ last contract expired Dec. 31, 2008. The dispute does not affect CN engineers in the United States, northern Alberta and northern Quebec.

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