VIA Rail Canada has reported reaching tentative agreements on a two-year contract renewal for more than 2,400 of its employees, who are represented by Unifor and serve as maintenance workers, on-board service personnel, chefs, sales agents and customer service staff.
According to VIA Rail, negotiations for the collective agreements that expired Dec. 31, 2019 had been postponed in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The bargaining process with Unifor 1 (off-train employees), Unifor 2 (onboard train employees) and Unifor 3 (shopcraft personnel) resumed in fourth-quarter 2020.
“We are pleased to have reached these agreements and look forward to their ratification,” said Patricia Jasmin, VIA Rail’s interim Chief Employee Experience Officer. “This encouraging step reflects the commitment and hard work both parties have demonstrated throughout this process.”
Railway Age Contributing Editor David Peter Alan reported in December that VIA Rail experienced an 82% drop in ridership and an 84% decrease in revenue in 2020 compared with 2019, as well as a savings of 27.5% in operating expenses. Some of that savings came from reducing service, both on the railroad’s corridors in Ontario and Quebec, and on other trains.