Canada's national rail passenger service has averted a strike which would have forced the company to shut down all service nation-wide, VIA Rail revealed early Tuesday, 12JUL.
Word came almost 12 hours after an already-extended strike deadline of Monday 11JUL at 4 PM Eastern Time, set by Unifor. The union represents 2400 VIA Rail employees working in its stations, on board its trains, in its maintenance centres, the VIA Customer Centre, and administrative offices.
As OpenJaw reported Monday, some train passengers were already affected early Monday as the union had set a strike deadline of 12:01 AM that day, forcing some to alter plans even though the strike deadline was subsequently extended.
In its statement Tuesday, VIA Rail said it, "regrets any uncertainties that the strike notice issued by the union may have caused. We want to reassure our passengers that as we await ratification operations will run as scheduled."
The two sides reportedly reached a tentative agreement overnight Monday into Tuesday 12JUL. The agreements are subject to a ratification vote by VIA Rail's Unifor members. Once ratified, the collective agreements will be retroactive to 01JAN 2022, and in effect through 31DEC 2024. Details of the agreements won't be released until they've been ratified by Unifor's members.
"VIA Rail is pleased to have negotiated these agreements and recognizes the hard work of both parties during this process," said Martin R Landry, President and Chief Executive Officer.
"We sympathize with the passengers and communities whose plans have been impacted in the past couple of days due to the uncertainty caused by this potential strike. As we look forward to ratification, these tentative agreements allow our teams to get back to doing what we do best: serving Canadians throughout the country."
VIA Rail continues to offer customers the opportunity to make changes to their travel plans without service fees for any departures prior to 31JUL. Booked guests can go online to viarail.ca to modify reservations or call 1 888 VIA-RAIL.