CN Rail issues 450 temporary layoff notices as pipeline protests continue

Feb 18 2020, 4:29 pm

With over 400 trains cancelled last week and new protests that emerged at “strategic locations” on its main line, CN Rail announced this week that it has issued temporary layoff notices to 450 workers as a result.

“We have decided that a progressive shutdown of our Eastern Canadian operations is the responsible approach to take for the safety of our employees and the protestors,” a CN spokesperson told Daily Hive in an email.

In accordance with the provisions of the company’s collective agreement, notices were sent to some of CN’s Eastern Canadian operational staff, including employees working at Autoport in Eastern Passage, Moncton, Charny, and Montreal.

“This situation is regrettable for its impact on the economy and on our railroaders as these protests are unrelated to CN’s activities, and beyond our control,” the spokesperson said. “Our shutdown is progressive and methodical to ensure that we are well set up for recovery, which will come when the illegal blockades end completely.”

The move comes after VIA Rail announced last week it was shutting down service across Canada, as solidarity protests with the Wet’suwet’en have gained traction.

This week, though, the passenger train service announced plans to allow the “partial resumption of service” between Quebec City, Montreal, and Ottawa.

Beginning Thursday morning, only trains that serve full trips between Quebec City and Ottawa will resume service.

According to VIA Rail, in order to ensure a smooth transition, all current reservations on those trains will be protected.

For now, all other VIA Rail services are still cancelled with the exception of Sudbury-White River (CP Rail) and Churchill-The Pas (Hudson Bay Railway) until further notice.

In a release, VIA Rail says they’re reaching out directly to passengers with reservations that have been cancelled to update them on the latest developments.

“We remain hopeful for an end to the situation as soon as possible and encourage all relevant parties to continue their efforts towards a peaceful resolution,” Via Rail said.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the Incident Response Group to discuss the Government of Canada’s engagement in resolving the disruptions as soon as possible.