November 28, 2019 / 4:42 PM / 13 days ago

Canadian National Railway implements recovery plan after eight-day strike

Nov 28 (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Co on Thursday said it was implementing a recovery plan and gradual ramp up of operations after the country’s biggest rail strike in a decade.

The eight-day-long work stoppage, which saw about 3,200 conductors and yard workers demanding improved working conditions and rest breaks, ended on Tuesday as the company reached a tentative agreement with workers.

In a statement, CN said the strike caused its network to run at about 10% of capacity and that it would work on starting its recovery plan while staying in direct contact with customers of the railroad to collect feedback on progress.

“Overriding emphasis will be placed on safety as we implement a disciplined and progressive ramp up to avoid congestion that can overwhelm parts of the supply chain that are the most vulnerable,” said Chief Executive Officer JJ Ruest.

As part of the deal ending the strike, CN will waive the "work-now-grieve-later principle" and not compel train workers to work past the start of their rest breaks, the Free Press reported, citing details from a draft copy of the agreement. (bit.ly/2pY9D9p)

CN and workers’ union Teamsters Canada were not immediately available for comment.

The draft of the new labor agreement also calls for a retroactive 2.5% increase in hourly, mileage-based and flat rates of pay as of July 23, 2019, an identical wage rise a year later, and a 3% raise in 2021, according to the Free Press report.

Workers had previously cited disputes over what counts as showing up on time for shifts. The tentative agreeement seeks to resolve this, in part, by setting out shifts as starting and ending at an agreed location, such as the employee’s locker facility.

Employees will also be compensated when scheduled to work 30 or 60 minutes into their rest periods, including train staff and those at railyards, the Free Press reported.

Union members should vote on the deal within eight weeks. (Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru Editing by Tom Brown)

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