March 16 (Reuters) – Canadian Pacific Railway CP.TO will lock out its employees within 72 hours if there is no agreement with a union, the company said on Wednesday, a move that could potentially disrupt the movement of grain, potash and coal to a time of soaring commodity prices.
CP has launched contingency plans in the event of a work stoppage and will work to gradually wind down its Canadian operations unless the parties reach a negotiated settlement or agree to binding arbitration, said the society.
The company said it had tabled an offer to settle wage, benefits and pension issues, but was rejected by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) union on Wednesday.
“Delaying resolution would only make matters worse. We are taking this action in an effort to end this uncertainty,” said CP chief executive Keith Creel.
The CFTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Canada, Russia and Belarus are one of the world’s leading sources of potash, a key input required for the production of nitrogen-containing fertilizers.
Concerns over fertilizer supplies have peaked since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions against Belarus.
Canadian federal mediators are assisting both sides in the talks and the government encourages both sides to consider making the necessary compromises to reach a fair deal, Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan Jr said in a statement.
The Canadian government may seek to pass legislation that would force workers back to work if they go on strike.
(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
((Radhika.Anilkumar@thomsonreuters.com; +91 8067490824;))
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