OTTAWA, ON, Jan. 30, 2021 /CNW/ - Unifor has reached a tentative contract with VIA Rail, in negotiations covering more than 2,000 rail workers.
"My congratulations go to members and the bargaining committees who adapted to bargaining online through the pandemic, and remained committed to reaching a fair deal for all members while VIA Rail faces truly unprecedented challenges," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "We must highlight all the work done by our members to ensure safe, clean standards on board trains and also, to ensure that the trains are in impeccable condition for the safety of this critical transit infrastructure. In the current difficult circumstances, this collective agreement secures good unionized jobs in the sector for years to come."
The agreement covers Unifor National Council 4000 and Unifor Local 100 members, who work as maintenance workers, on-board service personnel, chefs, sales agents and customer service staff at VIA Rail.
"Unifor members in rail have made incredible contributions to the industry, and advancements in workers rights and labour laws have been made possible with thanks to them. Our members are greatly affected by the pandemic, and Unifor has put all the necessary resources to support them and counter the attempts at concessions made by the employer," said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director.
The new 2-year contract replaced the collective agreement that expired on December 31, 2019. Contract talks began in October 2019 and were conducted in recent months remotely, with the assistance of mediators assigned by the federal government.
"I wish to thank our members for their support throughout the bargaining process. This is a good contract that will ensure fairness for members," said Dave Kissack, President of Unifor's Council 4000.
Zoltan Czippel, President of Local 100 echoed the message, adding that, "This deal represents the end of a long negotiation where the bargaining team put member's priorities front and centre. I'm proud to recommend adoption."
Details of the deal will only be released following ratification by members. Votes will be conducted in the coming weeks.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
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