CN Rail operating at 10% of regular service

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With the rail strike starting a second week, the agriculture industry’s concern is rising beyond short-term impacts. CN Rail workers striking across the country means that the railways is down to a crawl in terms of productivity.

How much is regular service impacted? A statement from CN Rail to RealAgriculture over the weekend says:

“The 3,200 TCRC-CTY affiliated employees at CN are on strike. CN has a small pool of qualified managers that only allows the company to operate at approximately 10% of normal service across its extensive 22,000 kilometre long Canadian network safely. Currently, very limited amounts of various commodities are moving across the country. This includes container traffic to keep Canada’s ports fluid to be able to return to normal operations after the strike.”

Shipments meant for export or domestic use are being greatly impacted by the strike. Western Canadian growers are concerned on shipments of wheat and canola before the winter weather turns severe, while eastern Canadian farmers are not seeing consistent supplies of propane to dry corn. Quebec has approximately one-week’s worth of propane in stores and has industries and organizations there have started rationing supply.

The union maintains that the strike is not about financial compensation but instead about unsafe working conditions.

The union has been unwilling to accept CN Rail’s offer to close the negotiation gap by accepting binding arbitration which would put an end to the strike and re-start commodity movement.

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