Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Via, union avert strike just before deadline

  • Print
Via Rail says if its customer service and other employees go on strike this week, management will continue to offer basic railway services.

ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Via Rail says if its customer service and other employees go on strike this week, management will continue to offer basic railway services.

TORONTO -- Via Rail and the union representing some of its workers reached a tentative deal ahead of a midnight strike deadline, the Canadian Auto Workers said.

The union did not release details of the tentative settlement and said ratification votes were being scheduled.

"We're very pleased to have reached a tentative deal with Via Rail," said Bob Orr, assistant to the union president.

"This has been a long and emotional process for our master bargaining committee. We've spent days engaged in very tense bargaining on issues most important to members and we're happy to have settled this contract without a labour disruption."

Earlier Thursday, the union said talks had stalled because Via attempted to circumvent the negotiation process by communicating directly with its employees.

And Orr had said there was "no chance" to reach an agreement by the deadline.

But later in the evening, the union confirmed that negotiations had resumed but said the two sides were still far apart on a number of major issues.

The union represents about 2,000 of Via's customer service employees, as well as on-board service and maintenance workers at the passenger rail company.

Via Rail presented its latest proposal on Wednesday, offering wage increases of two per cent every year for three years.

However, the offer also included higher employee contributions to the pension plan that the union said would result in members taking home less money, not more.

"What the company wants to do is increase employees' pension contributions substantially over the next three years," Orr said.

The union also objected to plans that would slash pension benefits for new Via employees and the rolling back of income protections for seasonal workers.

Via said its employees need to contribute more to the pension because it currently faces a $419-million deficit.

"There are no major concessions that are being asked of current full-time employees, except to have them help maintain the current pension plan by increasing their contributions," said Via spokeswoman Myl®ne B©langer.

Via president and chief executive Marc Lalibert© said the company's pension deficit is putting pressure on its bottom line.

Via Rail laid out a contingency plan last week in the event of a strike. Management were to have offered basic railway services, including daily trips in the morning and at the end of the day on the Quebec City to Windsor, Ont., corridor.

Long-distance trips and service to remote locations would have been provided once a week.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 14, 2013 A9

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: God Rest Ye Premier Selinger

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada Goose cools off in a water pond Monday afternoon at Brookside Cemetary- See Bryksa’s Goose a day Challenge– Day 27-June 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that former cabinet minister Theresa Oswald has entered the NDP leadership race, do you believe the "gang of five" rebel ministers were right to publicly criticize Premier Greg Selinger's leadership?

View Results

Ads by Google