Canadian National braced for new rail strikes
CANADIAN National Railway train crews have rejected a tentative contract, setting the stage for renewed strike action on Canada's largest railway, the union said on Tuesday. The United Transportation Union (UTU) said workers based in Canada, voted 1,553 to 402 against the deal that ended a 15-day walkout in February. That action caused lay-offs at CN Rail customers in the auto and forest industries. A union official said it will begin rotating strikes immediately, starting in Vancouver, and has asked the company to resume negotiations. Picket lines were also expected to be in place soon in Oakville, Ontario and Kamloops, British Columbia.
The UTU had warned that the contract deal faced rejection because of in-fighting within its leadership, and a move by the rival Teamsters Union to take over representation of the conductors, brakemen and switchyard employees. The dispute does not involve CN's workers in the United States. Canadian National has said it was disappointed by the vote results on what it said was a fair settlement, but a spokesman said it was prepared to return to the bargaining table.
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