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December 31, 2014

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Southern Railway issues lockout notice on New Year’s Eve

BURNABY—The 126 rail yard employees who work for Southern Railway (SRY) received an unwelcome New Year’s greeting today with the company’s decision to issue 72-hour lockout notice.

The lockout notice follows yesterday’s final offer vote by CUPE 7000 members which rejected SRY’s contract package by a resounding 91 percent. The company will be in a lockout position at 11:05 a.m. on Saturday, January 3, 2015.

“We had hoped to reach a fair and reasonable contract through negotiations at the bargaining table but the company has steadfastly refused to address our concerns, repeatedly tabling concessionary packages,” said CUPE 7000 President Bill Magri.

“Southern Railway’s refusal to bargain is why our members on November 22 voted 98 per cent in favour of job action.”

The company is pursuing its “service contingency plan” to continue operations, said Magri, adding that CUPE 7000 has advised all other affected unions and BC Federation of Labour affiliates about the impending lockout. He added that the company has been put on notice about the possible use of replacement workers during the dispute.

“Diverting work from the bargaining unit is illegal in a strike or lockout situation, pursuant to the BC Labour Relations Code,” said Magri. “During the lockout, we are not only asking customers and others to respect picket lines. We will also be seeking the support of the Teamsters, Longshoremen, Marine Workers, Grain Workers, UNIFOR, United Steelworkers, and any other affected union whose members are asked to transport ‘hot’ goods.”

 

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