Canada freight locomotive engineers strike settled

AP News
Posted: Dec 02, 2009 6:34 PM

Canadian National Railway Co. locomotive engineers have reached a deal to end their five-day strike, avoiding possible damage to the fragile economic recovery in Canada.

Teamsters Canada President Daniel Shewchuk said Wednesday the engineers will get back to work as quickly as possible, but didn't provide a timeline.

Federal Labor Minister Rona Ambrose said restoring full service quickly is critical to the economy. CN is the country's largest railway and managers have been running its trains since the walkout began Saturday.

"Continuing the strike for any further amount of time would have had grave consequences for our economy," Ambrose said.

Under the terms of the agreement, CN will not proceed with work rule changes it announced last week including increasing the monthly mileage cap for the locomotive engineers.

CN and the union also agreed to continue negotiations to resolve issues related to wages, benefits and work rules. If there is no agreement, any dispute over wages and benefits will be settled by binding arbitration.

The 1,700 engineers, members of the Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference, have been without a contract for almost a year.