CN trains rolling again but backlog still hurts rail-reliant industries
CALGARY – CN Rail employees were back on the job Wednesday after a tentative deal was reached by workers and the country’s largest rail company, but it’ll still take weeks to clear the backlog of commodities as a result of the strike.
Some 3,200 conductors, engineers and yard workers went on strike over concerns what they considered dangerous working conditions, long hours and fatigue.
The eight-day strike halted 90 per cent of CN’s traffic, affecting industries reliant on rail including mining, petroleum and agriculture. The fallout is expected to cost the Canadian economy about a billion of dollars.
Fertilizer giant Nutrient will still be temporarily laying off about 550 workers in Saskatchewan and will shut down its potash mine in Rocanville for two weeks starting December 2nd to recover from the backlog the strike created with the supply chain.
The strike was particularly hard on the agriculture industry and oil and gas producers that rely on rail to ship their products.
Many companies and politicians, including Premier Jason Kenney, called on the government to intervene, while Ottawa insisted on allowing the two sides to work it out.
Ratification votes on the tentative contract agreement should take about eight weeks to complete.