CN Rail strike ends with tentative deal with union, but fallout continues for farmers, miners – by Emily Jackson and Naomi Powell (Financial Post – November 26, 2019)

Canadian National Railway and Teamsters Canada reached a tentative agreement to renew the collective agreement for 3,200 conductors and yard crews, ending a week-long strike that choked the country’s rail capacity at a critical shipping time for farmers.

Employees can return to work as early as Tuesday at 2 p.m., with normal operations resuming Wednesday at 6 a.m., according to statements from CN and the union. The parties have agreed to no further job action during the ratification process, which is expected to take eight weeks.

Details of the agreement will not be revealed until members vote on the deal by secret ballot, but the union previously said the dispute was over long hours and fatigue that led to what it characterized as dangerous working conditions.

The détente came as a relief to farmers, miners and the province of Quebec, which was facing a severe propane shortage. But rail-reliant industries still expect to be rattled by ripple effects as shippers deal with the backlog caused by the work stoppage that left Canada’s largest railway operating at 10 per cent capacity.

Saskatchewan-based Nutrien Ltd., the world’s largest potash producer, will still shut down its mine in Rocanville, Sask. for two weeks starting Dec. 2, temporarily laying off 550 employees leading up to the holiday season.

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