Canadian Pacific track workers to strike Wednesday

May 14, 2007: MONTREAL (Reuters) - Some 3,200 workers who maintain track at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd, Canada's second-largest railway, are set to strike early on Wednesday, the company and union said on Saturday.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees Division said it had served a 72-hour strike notice on CP Rail over failed talks on wages and other issues.

The union represents about 3,200 employees who inspect, maintain and build the track, bridges and structures at CP Rail.

On Saturday, CP Rail said it had trained more than 1,300 employees who could replace the roughly 1,200 of its unionized workers who directly maintain track at the railway.

Other positions will not be replaced as they are associated with capital projects, which will be deferred, CP Rail said.

The union said calling the strike was "a sad day for the company and for the country."

William Brehl, the union's president, said in a statement he had hoped for a negotiated settlement.

"Now the company has forced us to go on strike, which will be devastating to the Canadian economy," he said.

CP Rail said the strike would not affect other unionized employees in Canada or the United States.

No further talks on a new three-year contract are scheduled between the two sides, the union said.

The national strike would be the third labor disruption in Canada's rail industry this year.

Last month, Canadian National Railway Co., Canada's largest railway, lifted its lockout of certain workers after lawmakers ordered an end to that labor dispute.

A 15-day strike by 2,800 conductors at CN Rail in February contributed to delays at the country's ports and hurt the value of manufacturing shipments.

Read the full story in Reuters here.

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