Strike deadline for Via Rail workers extended as Unifor continues negotiations
Via Rail narrowly avoided the prospect of immediately suspending services across Canada after a strike deadline was extended until Monday afternoon.
Unifor issued a 72-hour strike notice to the national rail carrier on Friday, saying 2,400 employees were ready to walk off the job if a new contract could not be negotiated by 12:01 a.m. Monday.
A strike would see maintenance workers, on-board service staff, chefs, sales agents and customer service staff hitting all pickets and forcing Via to suspend services across the country.
However, Unifor released a statement on its website and social media, saying the strike deadline has been extended to 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday.
Unifor’s national secretary-treasurer said in the statement, released Sunday night, that its bargaining committees are « firm » in pursuing a deal that « respects and values » workers.
Unifor said job security is the top issue on the table during labor negotiations.
Early Monday morning, Via Rail released its own statement, saying it was committed to reaching a fair and reasonable deal.
President and CEO Martin R Landry also noted that with the summer travel season here, the threat of a strike has created additional stress for the company’s passengers and the communities it serves. .
Via also promised to allow its customers to make changes to their travel plans without a service charge for any departures before July 31, 2022.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 11, 2022