08:32 GMT +314 December 2019
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    Canadian National Railway, Conductors Reach Tentative Agreement to End Strike - Statement

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    TORONTO (Sputnik) - The Canadian National Railway (CN) in a statement on Tuesday said it reached a tentative agreement with more than 3,000 employees who will be allowed to return to work this afternoon.

    "CN is announcing that a tentative agreement has been reached with our 3,200 CN conductors and yard crews working on CN's mainline and yards in Canada for a new collective agreement", the statement said.

    The agreement stipulates that employees will be allowed to return to work at 2:00 p.m. EST (7:00 p.m. GMT) and yard assignments will start at 06:00 a.m. local time tomorrow morning, according to the statement. There will be no job action during the ratification period, the statement added.

    CN Rail said the results of the ratification votes are expected within eight weeks.

    Teamsters Canada President Francois Laporte in a statement said he is pleased with the agreement reached with CN and thanked the union members for what he said was their incredible courage and solidarity.

    Yesterday, the union released a recording of a CN supervisor ordering a fatigued conductor to continue working for several hours. The conductor informed the supervisor, a chief rail traffic controller (RTC), that he was unfit to operate the train due to fatigue and refused to carry out orders, disobedience for which he was subsequently suspended for 14 days.

    News of an agreement could not have come fast enough for some of the most affected by the strike. Last Friday, Quebec Premier Francois Legault told reporters that dwindling propane supplies threatened Quebec hospitals and farms.

    Canada's largest potash mine, Nutrien Ltd., also announced that it would temporarily halt operations and lay off 550 employees at its southeastern Saskatchewan mine as a result of the strike.

    According to a local grain elevators association, grain producers in western Canada, who have already endured a challenging year in which their crop has been damaged by mildew and frost, bore the brunt of the impact given that CN services approximately half of Western Canada's grain elevators.

    Canadian National Railway Workers On Strike

    Workers walked off the job on 19 November at midnight local time three days after Teamsters Canada announced that the union was going on strike due to CN's flawed safety practices, worker health issues, and increased hours.

    In a statement released on 16 November, the union decried the practice of having members operate trains alone from outside of the locomotive, which involves operators "hanging on to moving trains with one hand while operating a remotely controlled locomotive with the other".

    The impact of the strike and its potentially disastrous consequences spurred calls to action from all levels of government. The Premiers of Quebec and Saskatchewan appealed to the federal government to do more while in his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland earlier in the day Alberta Premier Jason Kenney made the strike a sticking point, according to a readout of the discussion

    CN Rail is the nation's largest railway employing more than 24,000 employees. CN transports more than C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors, and last fiscal year posted revenues of C$14,321 million, a 10 percent rise over 2017.

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    train, conductor, union, workers, authorities, producer, grain, employees, agreement, strike, railway, Canada
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