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Strike deadline for Via Rail workers extended again as Unifor continues negotiations

Unifor says in a statement on social media that the strike deadline is now 6 p.m. eastern Monday
Passengers arrive at a Via Rail kiosk at Central Station in Montreal, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Unifor says it has again pushed back the deadline for a strike by Via Rail workers that could lead to the immediate suspension of rail services across Canada.

The union says in a statement on social media that the strike deadline is now 6 p.m. eastern Monday, two hours later than the 4 p.m. time it had pushed it back to on Sunday.

It says “talks continue” and will provide updates as they come in.

Unifor initially issued a 72-hour strike notice to the national rail carrier on Friday, indicating 2,400 employees were prepared to walk off the job if a new contract could not be negotiated by 12:01 a.m. on Monday.

A strike would see maintenance workers, on-board service personnel, chefs, sales agents and customer service staff all hit the picket line and force Via to pause services across the country.

Unifor’s national secretary-treasurer said in Sunday’s statement that its bargaining committees are “steadfast” in pursuing a deal that “respects and values” workers.

Unifor said job security was the main issue on the table during labour negotiations.

Early Monday morning, Via Rail issued its own statement, saying it is committed to reaching a fair and reasonable agreement.

President and CEO Martin R Landry also noted that with the summer travel season here the threat of a strike has created additional stress for the company’s passengers and the communities it serves.

Via has also promised to allow its customers to make changes to their travel plans without service fees for any departures prior to July 31, 2022.

—The Canadian Press

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