IPP&T Magazine Online

Mining industry urges speedy resolution to CN Rail strike

November 19, 2019  

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The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) is expressing “serious concern regarding the significant and damaging effects” that the work stoppage resulting from disagreements between Canadian National Railway (CN) and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference will have on the mining sector, and the broader Canadian economy.

“A strike by CN workers will have a seriously harmful effect on the industry,” said Pierre Gratton, MAC’s president and CEO. “The shipment of fuel and other supplies to mine sites will be compromised as will the transport of mineral products.”

The mining industry is a significant customer of Canada’s Class I railways, consistently accounting for the majority (52.3 per cent in 2018) of rail freight revenues generated annually, and is the single largest shipping group by volume. The majority of this production volume is shipped to international customers, together accounting for 20 per cent (or more than $105 billion) of the total value of Canada’s exports in 2018, and consistently contributes positively to Canada’s balance of trade.

“In the minerals and metals sector, experience has demonstrated that a rail stoppage significantly impacts the ability of companies to bring essential inputs to their mines, and the ability to move mineral products and by-products to down-stream customers,” said Gratton. “MAC members have advised that this strike will result in a severe reduction or elimination of railway capacity and will trigger the closure of mines with concurrent layoffs of thousands of employees beginning in a matter of days.

“We recommend that the government impose binding arbitration to address this dispute – and to also consider such arbitration as a required step in future labour disputes involving the Class 1 railroads, given the frequency and adverse impact of such disputes,” concluded Gratton.

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