CP Rail, union contract talks stall on worker fatigue dispute

Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:06pm EST
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TORONTO Nov 21 (Reuters) - Contract talks between Canadian Pacific Railway and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) have stalled, the union representing about 3,800 locomotive engineers and conductors at the country's No. 2 railway said on Friday.

The Teamsters said it filed an official request on Wednesday for mediation, saying the main point of contention with management was worker fatigue and how to manage it.

The existing labor contract expires on Dec. 31.

"The negotiations have stalled because we think the employer isn't committed," Doug Finnson, the Teamsters' chief negotiator, said in a statement.

"They want significant concessions, a dramatic increase in working hours out of each employee, provide less rest hours, and within an industry plagued by fatigue already."

Officials at CP Rail, which also has large operations in the United States, could not be reached for comment immediately.

Rest provisions were a key issue in contract negotiations earlier this year between Canadian National Railway, the country's biggest railway, and the Teamsters.

Union members at CN Rail voted down a tentative contract deal because of doubts the railway would respect provisions for rest, but a strike was averted after Canada's Conservative government said it would use back-to-work legislation to keep operations going. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Peter Galloway)