Union criticized move, citing record profits, safety concerns
TORONTO—Unifor has expressed its extreme disappointment in Canadian Pacific Railway following the company’s decision to cut 1,000 workers.
The company announced the cost-saving measure in a conference call Jan. 21 while disclosing its quarterly and annual results. The company posted record profits and revenue for its fiscal 2015, despite lackluster fourth-quarter figures, which fell short of analyst expectations.
“It’s regrettable that CP has decided to cut jobs while they are posting record profits and revenue,” Brian Stevens, national rail director for Unifor, said. “Last year they eliminated 1,800 staff, now they’re putting another 1,000 out of work despite the fact that they brought in $1.35 billion in net income in 2015.”
In addition to the profitability criticism, Unifor cited safety concerns surrounding the company’s rails. Transport Canada hit the railway with a largely unprecedented order to improve its fatigue-management practices earlier this month, saying they pose “an immediate threat to safe railway operations.”
“Canadian Pacific was given this order a week ago. They were told that some of their crews were being worked to the point of exhaustion and now they plan further staff reductions?” Stevens asked.
“The pressure is clearly mounting as our members are routinely forced into overtime and increasingly pressed to perform safety inspections and brake tests in half the required time at some locations,” he added. “I think we need to ask if CP is putting shareholders ahead of safety here.”
In addition to the worker cuts—while concerns mount that overall economic troubles will hit the railway—CP plans to eliminate $400 million in capital spending.