VIA Rail Concession Demands Derail Contract Talks, CAW says
June 13, 2013, 8:30 AM EST
Major concessionary demands tabled by VIA Rail negotiators have effectively derailed talks for a new collective agreement with the CAW.
"The company presented their 'global offer' to us late last night and it was riddled with demands for deep concessions," said Bob Orr, Assistant to CAW National President Ken Lewenza.
Orr said that the company's proposal would roll back access to long-standing income protections for seasonal workers, cut thousands of dollars in take-home pay, each year, from VIA employees, and slash pension benefits for new hires to levels lower than at any Crown Corporation in Canada.
"What's infuriating is that the company actually increased their concessionary demands as we moved closer to the deadline," said CAW Council 4000 Secretary-Treasurer Heather Grant, representing customer service and on-board service agents at VIA Rail.
The CAW had issued a 72-hour strike notification to the company last week, following a strong strike mandate provided by the members. A strike deadline is set for Friday June 14 at 12:01am.
"We came into these negotiations looking for ways to reach a fair deal for our members. The company came looking for cuts. That's not how we move forward," said CAW Local 100 President Ken Hiatt, representing skilled trades and maintenance workers at VIA Rail.
The union is currently preparing members to set up pickets at VIA stations and maintenance centres across the country.
Visit www.caw.ca/en for updates.
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