Labour minister urges continued talks as CN Rail workers begin strike

Strike In Canada Threatens Crude By Rail Shipments

Thousands of CN Rail employees are on strike, but talks continue

CN Rail's largest operations in Saskatchewan are at their rail yards in Saskatoon, Regina and Melville.

News that CN Rail workers are on strike is the latest in a string of blows to grain growers in B.C.'s Peace region. "Now is the time to act", Dreeshen's statement said. Trudeau has said he is not reconvening Parliament until December 5 and the government can not start the process to force workers back on the job until then.

Lines operated by CN Rail, the country's largest railway, serve as a crucial, and often the only economical means of getting products to and from markets.

Workers have been without a contract since July 23 and officially issued a 72-hour strike notice on Saturday (Nov. 16).

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"Workers need to make sure their working conditions are safe and they're not being put into a unsafe situation that puts their lives in danger".

Analysts don't expect the strike to last long, as the government is likely to intervene because of the potential significant impact on economy in case of a prolonged labor action, Credit Suisse's analyst Allison Landry said in a note, as carried by Bloomberg. We could see awful jobs losses in the mining sector in Quebec, the forestry sector in British Columbia, and the automotive sector in Ontario.

Teamsters Canada spokesman Christopher Monette said on Monday the strike came as workers "hit the wall on issues related to health and safety".

"We weren't able to get half the crops off the field, and now, the crops we've got, we can't ship".

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The statement said farmers this year are facing devastating harvest conditions and poor commodity prices, and a disruption in freight service would "compound an already hard situation causing severe economic consequences for farmers".

The union has said passenger rail services in the country's three biggest cities would not be affected by the strike. "You can't just double them".

The strike comes during peak shipping season for wheat and canola farmers. China, which typically imports 40 per cent of Canada's canola and canola products, halted all purchases of the crop in March in what many view as retaliation for the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. "So even a one-week interruption of rail service would be extremely concerning to us". Alberta can not see further restrictions on our ability to export our product.

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