April 19, 2018
Canadian grain farmers urge action to avoid CP rail strike
OTTAWA (April 19, 2018) – Grain farmers are growing concerned about the impact of a possible service disruption following yesterday’s strike notice which would see CP rail workers starting labour action as early as April 21. Grain farmers are calling on CP and the unions to negotiate in good faith to avoid a disastrous disruption in service due to a work stoppage.
“Decisions made by the railways resulted in this winter’s shipping crisis on the Prairies. A large amount of grain is still sitting on farms waiting to move,” said Jeff Nielsen, President of Grain Growers of Canada. “Grain farmers are growing concerned that a disruption will end any chance we have of salvaging this shipping season.”
Grain farmers rely on railways to get their grain to customers in Canada and around the world. This year farmers have experienced catastrophic service backlogs with grain left on the farm and in elevators across the Prairies. The inability to get grain to market has a severe impact on hard working middle-class farm families because if grain doesn’t move, farmers don’t get paid, forcing them to seek expensive financing options to make ends meet.
A series of events over the last 5 years have raised growing concerns about how seriously the railways take their responsibility to move grain and other products in the periods of highest demand. Something needs to change so that the economic livelihood of farmers, shippers and all Canadians that rely on the railways does not continue to be put at risk.
“Grain farmers see lots of opportunity around the world, but without an effective rail transportation system, those opportunities are being lost,” continued Mr. Nielsen. “We hope the Government will consider all possible tools, including arbitration, legislation and the remedies in the amended Bill C-49, if the labour negotiations do not result in a positive outcome.”
Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 50,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through it’s 13 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.
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