Hamilton GO train users will need to take the bus if Canadian Pacific Railway workers hit the picket lines.
The union representing 4,800 CP employees conductors, engineers, yard workers and rail traffic controllers served its 72-hour strike notice over the weekend, putting the workers in a legal strike position at 00:01 Wednesday morning.
Hamilton trains will not originate downtown. Instead they’ll originate at Aldershot station because tracks from Burlington Junction to Hamilton GO Centre are owned by CP.
GO Transit states there will be shuttle buses from Hamilton to Aldershot for customers. Aldershot station offers free parking as well.
The union states the issues in the dispute are “work rules, fatigue management, and the pension plan, which the employer wants to cut by 40%.” The company responds ““CP believes the offer it has presented the union is fair and reasonable. We are willing to enter into binding arbitration or negotiation period extensions should an agreement not be reached at this stage,” said executive vice president and chief operations officer Mike Franczak in a company news release.
Federal labour minister Lisa Raitt issued a statement of concern Sunday urging both sides to think twice warning “a disruption of rail services would have a significantly negative impact on businesses and our national economy.”
Raitt represents the riding of Halton which includes the Town of Milton. Milton’s crowded GO Transit line is owned by CP and all commuter rail service will be cancelled for the duration of a strike, a significant inconvenience to riders with no viable alternatives available.
The union states it offered to continue working on the commuter lines to avoid a disrupt to riders in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. The union states the company declined the offer.
Raitt did not indicate if the federal government will legislate to prevent disruptions as they recently did in the cases of Air Canada and Canada Post.
The following message was sent by GO Transit to customers using the Lakeshore West rail service to Hamilton:
There is a possibility of a strike by Teamsters Canada Rail Conference representing Canadian Pacific Rail train crews and rail traffic controllers. A strike could occur as early as May 23.
Service to GO’s Hamilton station may also be impacted if a strike occurs. All 4 trains originating from the Hamilton station would originate from Aldershot Station starting Wednesday morning. GO Bus shuttles will be provided to customers from Hamilton to Aldershot.
— JC —