MONTREAL — While pressure is increasing for the Canadian government to intervene in a strike against Canadian National Railway, government Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Friday that a negotiated agreement is “the most probable and the quickest way to solve” the situation.
The strike by Teamsters Canada Rail Conference conductors, train crew persons, and yard workers entered its fifth day Saturday. The strike only affects CN operations in Canada, although U.S. operations will likely see an impact on cross-border traffic.
“We are making both sides very, very aware of the impacts this is having on Canadians. Canadians are not only inconvenienced but, in some cases, pretty stressed by this,” Garneau said, according to a Bloomberg report. “We are encouraging both sides to keep talking.”
The union said in a Friday statement that “no substantive progress” has been made in negotiations. It also charged that CN was manufacturing a propane crisis [see “Teamsters: No progress at negotiating table as CN strike enters fourth day,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 22, 2019], but CN said its ability to operate is limited.
“CN has a small pool of qualified managers that only allows the company to operate at approximately 10% of normal service,” the railroad said in a statement on its website. “Currently, very limited amounts of various commodities are moving across the country. This includes container traffic to keep Canada’s ports fluid to be able to return to normal operations after the strike.”