Loading articles...

CN strike could trigger layoffs at Halifax port as rail activity hits the brakes

CN workers walk the picket line at Winnipeg's Symington Yards on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. Conductors, trainpersons and yard workers took to the picket lines Tuesday, halting freight trains across the country after CN confirmed last week it was cutting jobs as it deals with a weakening North American economy that has eroded demand. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Summary

Rhetoric is heating up from both sides as a strike by about 3,200 CN Rail workers continues into Day 5

MONTREAL – Canada’s biggest railway says temporary layoffs are likely at the Halifax port due to an ongoing strike by its workers.

Canadian National Railway Co. says inactivity at the port means some rail employees will likely be placed on furlough if the labour stoppage now in its fifth day continues.

Workers at other ports may also be vulnerable to temporary layoffs as the railway runs at 10 per cent capacity.

Last week CN confirmed job cuts as it deals with a weakening North American economy that has eroded demand for railroad transportation, with a company source acknowledging 1,600 employees will be laid off from union and management positions.

About 3,200 CN rail workers, who have been without a contract since July 23, walked off the job early Tuesday morning over worries about long hours, fatigue and what they consider dangerous working conditions.

The federal government has faced mounting pressure to resolve the strike as premiers and industry voice concerns about lost profits and a propane shortage in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes.

Though the striking rail workers are part of the Teamsters union, the potential furloughs in Halifax would affect Unifor members.

The union did not immediately respond to request for comment on the furloughs.