Grain farmers in the region and across Canada are very concerned with possible Canadian Pacific Railway workers' labour action that could start as early as Saturday, says Jeff Nielsen, president of Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) and an Olds-area resident.
“Decisions made by the railways resulted in this winter’s shipping crisis on the Prairies,” Nielsen said in a press release issued Thursday.
“Grain farmers are growing concerned that a disruption will end any chance we have of salvaging this shipping season. This year farmers have experienced catastrophic service backlogs with grain left on the farm and in elevators across the Prairies.
“The inability to get grain to market has a severe impact on hard- working middle-class farm families because if grain doesn’t move, farmers don’t get paid, forcing them to seek expensive financing options to make ends meet.”
The GGC is calling on the federal government to do what it can to prevent a strike.
“A series of events over the last five years have raised growing concerns about how seriously the railways take their responsibility to move grain and other products in the periods of highest demand,” he said.
“Something needs to change so that the economic livelihood of farmers, shippers and all Canadians that rely on the railways does not continue to be put at risk.
“We hope the government will consider all possible tools, including arbitration, legislation and the remedies in the amended Bill C-49, if the labour negotiations do not result in a positive outcome.”