Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Here we GO again...

Remember when CN was on strike?

Yes, I nearly forgot about it too.

Yesterday, the union representing CN conductors soundly rejected the tentative settlement reached in earlier in the year, by a vote of 79% against. The union says that they only agreed to the tentative settlement because of the threat of back-to-work legislation, and their new tactic of rotating strikes should help achieve the deal they want without the federal government having to get involved. In addition, though there is no advanced-notice deal in place, the union says that the only way GO and AMT service would be disrupted was either if the labour dispute spiralled out of control, or if the management locked them out - and frankly, I wouldn't put it past them.

Labour disputes are a way of life. Yes, they do disrupt our lives, but without labour unions, we might sill be working under the same conditions as the industrial revolution. Sometimes we just have to grin and bear it. As for my opinions on CN, I've said it before and I'll say it again. The railways haven't been interested in passenger service since 1978, when VIA Rail Canada was created. There is simply no profit, and railways are, by the nature of capitalism, interested in making a profit. GO needs to find a train operator who's willing to work within that framework, and its obvious from their lack of a bid on the new contract that CN isn't interested. That's why I fear a lockout.

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