courtesy CP Rail Click image to enlarge

Canadian businesses are calling on the federal government to prevent a Canadian Pacific Railway work stoppage.

CP Rail has issued a lockout notice for March 20 to its union representing its engineers, conductors and other train employees. Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) has countered with a strike notice also for the same date.

“A work stoppage of any length will have a deep and adverse impact for all Canadians who rely on the essential rail supply chain and for the broader Canadian economy. Any disruption would further cripple Canada’s freight capacity and have a profound impact on not only rail shippers, but all shippers, including trucking and air, throughout the broader Canadian economy, “ a group comprised of more than 45 businesses stated in a plea to the government. “It would do irrevocable damage to Canadian supply chains that would extend beyond our borders and harm our reputation as a reliable partner in international trade.”

The group, which includes the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters,  pointed out that CP has stated that it is willing to immediately enter binding arbitration to resolve this matter without a work stoppage.

“The government must do everything in its power to get the union to agree,” the group is demanding.

Canadian manufacturers are among the biggest users of rail transportation services and CP Rail is a critical link in manufacturing supply chains.

CP Rail says it has “commenced and will continue to execute” a structured shutdown of its train operations in Canada and that an “embargo application for shipments routing to and from CP Canadian locations is now in place to be effective 00:01 Sunday March 20, 2022.”

“A work stoppage at CP Rail is the last thing Canadian manufacturers need. In fact, some manufacturers have already had to shut down their operation in anticipation of a strike or lockout. After months of economic hardship and successive supply chain disruptions that are beyond our control, we now find ourselves faced with a new threat. We have the power to stop this, and CP Rail, the union, and the government must act now” said Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME.

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