Nutrien forced to shut down largest mine due to CN strike – by Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – November 25, 2019)

The week-long strike by 3,200 Canadian National Railway Co. train conductors has forced the shutdown of Nutrien Ltd.’s potash mine in Rocanville, Sask.

Nutrien, the world’s largest fertilizer company, said on Monday it will halt output at its largest mine for two weeks beginning Dec. 2., as the impact of the strike at Canada’s largest rail company widens.

“It is extremely disappointing that in a year when the agricultural sector has been severely impacted by poor weather and trade disputes, the CN strike will add further hardship to the Canadian agriculture industry,” said Chuck Magro, Nutrien’s chief executive officer. “Any further disruption will be harmful to our business, the Canadian economy, and Canada’s competitive position and reputation as a reliable supplier of fertilizer and food.”

Nutrien and rival Mosaic Co. export potash from a terminal on the West Coast through their jointly owned logistics company, Canpotex Ltd.

The CN employees, who work on trains and in rail yards, have been without a contract since July. Several months of talks assisted by a mediator have failed to produce an agreement. The union, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, said the main issues are benefits, rest periods and the company’s use of remote controls to drive trains, which the union says is a safety issue.

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