Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions urge immediate Federal Government action to prevent CP Rail strike
(Calgary, Alberta) April 18, 2018 – In response to the 72-hour strike notice issued by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) representing more than 3,000 workers at CP Rail, the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions are urging the Federal Government to take immediate steps to prevent strike action.
A rail strike could cause devastating consequences on the agriculture sector especially given that farmers in many regions of Western Canada are already experiencing significant delays due to poor rail service. A strike could happen as early as Saturday, April 21 unless the TCRC reaches a negotiated settlement.
“Because of the monopolistic nature of Canada’s freight rail system, many western Canadian farmers only have access to one rail line,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chair. “If a strike were to take place, farmers who can only access the CP line would have no other options to move their grain and would have to wait until rail is moving again to be paid. This will in-turn cause major cash-flow issues into this year’s growing season."
Further, failure to move grain to markets on time will seriously impact Canada’s reputation as a reliable supplier to our global customers.
“We need immediate government intervention to make sure that an already difficult situation with grain movement by rail does not worsen,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “The movement of grain is so essential to the Canadian economy that it should never be disrupted by strike action. But unfortunately, we see labour disputes almost every year.”
A rail strike could have potentially devastating and lasting effects on our producers, domestic supply chain partners, international buyers and the national economy. The Commissions note that immediate action will minimize the negative impacts on Canada’s economy.
The Commissions are further pressing for action through a letter to the Honourable Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
Alberta Wheat Commission