UPDATE 1-Canadian labor minister intervening in CP Rail talks

Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:49pm EST
 
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OTTAWA Feb 13 (Reuters) - Canadian Labour Minister Kellie Leitch is intervening to encourage an agreement in contract negotiations between union workers and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd to stave off a potential weekend strike, her spokesman said on Friday.

Unions representing workers at CP Rail have given notice they may go on strike just after midnight on Saturday.

Leitch was in Montreal on Friday and "is personally intervening to encourage all parties to work together to quickly reach agreements in the best interest of the Canadian economy and Canadians, and to avoid a costly and damaging work-stoppage," said her spokesman, Andrew McGrath.

CP, Canada's No. 2 railway, said earlier this week that its managers will be ready to take over if engineers and conductors walk off the job.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference gave notice on Tuesday that it will strike just after midnight on Saturday unless it reaches a contract deal. CP said the Teamsters represent more than 3,000 active locomotive engineers and conductors.

Unifor, which has also been in contract negotiations and represents about 1,800 maintenance and safety workers at the railway, gave notice late on Wednesday that it may go on strike at the same time. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)