VIA Rail union issues 72-hour strike notice

VIA Rail passengers face a shutdown of service Monday as workers issued a 72-hour strike notice after negotiations “failed to progress,” according to a press release from Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector.

“VIA Rail workers are frustrated that the employer continues to push concessions and not work toward a fair and equitable collective agreement for our members,” said Scott Doherty, executive assistant to Unifor’s national president and lead negotiator.

Workers represented in the negotiations include more than 2,000 maintenance workers, customer service personnel, chefs, and sales agents.

They voted to strike overwhelmingly as of Monday at 12:01 a.m. if no deal is reached.

The union says one of the sticking points in negotiations has been VIA’s push to remove a supplemental agreement they say will result in the loss of job security.

VIA Rail released a statement Thursday night, saying the company has made “every effort” to reach an agreement with Unifor.

“Unfortunately, if no agreement is reached, VIA Rail will be forced to suspend all services for the duration of the strike and until normal operations can safely resume.”

Affected passengers will be able to change their reservation at no cost, or may opt for a full refund of unused tickets.

Customers looking for further information about VIA Rail’s services during the work disruption are encouraged to visit viarail.ca, or call 1-888-VIA-RAIL (842-7245).

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