MONTREAL — Teamsters Canada says railway workers have approved a three-year collective agreement with Canadian National Railway Co. The new treaty focuses mainly on safety, particularly with regard to crew fatigue and working time. The agreement was reached after an eight-day strike last November. The agreement also defines periods of shift work, calls for an 8% increase in wages during the three-year contract and makes some changes to workers` health and well-being plans. According to the Teamsters, the new collective agreement, which runs until July 22, 2022, addresses safety issues, with a particular focus on crew fatigue and work schedules. But the Canadian government will have to address rail industry fatigue in the future, said TCRC President Lyndon Isaak. The new collective agreement expires on July 22, 2022. MONT-AL, January 31, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Shipyard workers and Canadian Railway (CN) attendants voted 91.3% in favour of ratifying a new 3-year collective agreement. The more than 3,000 workers are represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC). The Teamsters would like to thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once again for respecting the workers` right to strike. The union also wishes to pay tribute to Labour Minister Filomena Tassi, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (CSMF). They helped the parties reach an agreement. CN does not recognize calm as a regulatory or safety issue.

If exhausted workers seek relief after work beyond the 10-hour limit set by the collective agreement, the company would first ask workers to „do the job now and file a complaint later“ if they were unhappy. Under the new agreement, the company will abandon the „Work now-grieve-later“ policy if tired employees try to rest and be relieved, meaning they would not be forced to continue working. When the Teamsters voted on the agreement, 91.3% voted in favour. The group represents approximately 3,200 workers working for the NC as a driver, construction worker and train conveyor. MEPs led an eight-day strike last November after the first negotiations failed. The new contract follows an agreement in principle reached at the end of November, which ended an eight-day strike that nearly brought the railways to a standstill. The union says the agreement improves worker safety and exhaustion, but Teamsters Canada President Fran├žois Laporte says that „the central problem of fatigue in the rail industry can only be solved by government regulation.“ CN CEO JJ Ruest says he is „pleased to have reached the agreement,“ which boosts wages and benefits and is retroactive to July 23, 2019. Other unsafe changes to the agreement include an 8% pay increase during the 3-year agreement (2.5% / 2.5% / 3%), with retroactive effect to July 23, 2019. Workers will also receive a taxable ratification bonus of $1,000.

A number of improvements have also been made to the health and wellness plan. One of the provisions of the agreement calls on CN to abandon the TCRC`s „work now-grieve-later“ policy. Instead of appointing employees to work beyond a 10-hour limit, employees can now book rest periods, the TCRC says. Christopher Monette, Director of Public AffairsTeamsters CanadaCell: In order to further discourage the company from violating the residual provisions of the collective agreement, workers receive additional compensation if they are forced to work 30 and 60 minutes during their rest periods, including flight attendants and station employees.