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CP Rail to resume operations after agreement reached

Click to play video 'CP Rail strike ends, but “damage already done” according to farmers' CP Rail strike ends, but “damage already done” according to farmers
Hours after taking strike action, CP Rail and Teamsters have a tentative agreement to resume service Thursday morning; but farmers will still experience delays – May 30, 2018

Canadian Pacific Railway and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference said they have reached a four-year tentative agreement to end a strike hours after it began.

READ MORE: Here's how a CP Rail strike impacts Canada's economy

The parties also reached a five-year deal for the Kootenay Valley Railway.

The union said full operations at both railways will resume the morning of May 31 across Canada.

Union president Doug Finnson called the deal a fair contract that its members can feel good about.

With the strike now over, Todd Lewis, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan is now calling for rain.

READ MORE: CP Rail strike: Industries across Canada scrambling, warn of ‘significant’ economic impact

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“I think we’re going to be okay now, this isn’t going to be a prolonged stoppage. The damage has already been done in a lot of cases, so we just have to start trying to fix those issues. I guess if we can just make it rain now, everything will be much better,” said Lewis.

Even with the rain, Lewis thinks that it’s time for the railroads to step up and start doing a better job of running their businesses.

“The railroads have to do a better job of running their businesses better. We’re frustrated that service doesn’t seem to be a priority, and good labour relations are a part of good service, that just doesn’t exist right now in a lot of cases.”

“It’s always on the railroads’ schedule. It’s not the customer’s schedule, it’s not the shipper’s schedule, it’s not the farmer’s schedule. It’s always on CP’s or CN’s schedule and that’s got to change.”

READ MORE: West Coast Express service not affected by CP Rail strike

Lewis said that the strike was both frustrating and disappointing for producers, and although producers have been very patient over the last number of years in regards to reduced and poor service, this is still a “pretty immediate impact to CP Rail.”

Shipping will resume Thursday morning, and Lewis expects that farmers will likely only experience delays this grain week; a welcome relief as producers need money to pay for the bills that they’ve accumulated over the past number of weeks.

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“Farmers spend a lot of money in the spring. When you’re putting in a crop like Canola, you’re spending $3,000 – $4,000 an hour,” he said.

CP Rail chief executive Keith Creel said the agreements are positive for 12,000 railway employees, customers and the entire Canadian economy.

Creel added that the agreement will provide long-term stability.

The tentative agreements must be ratified by Teamsters members over the coming months.

Details of the agreement are being withheld pending ratification.