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Via Rail Tentative Agreement

Montreal/Gatineau (With files from Huffington Post/Toronto Star) —MONDAY UPDATE – Via Rail has reached a tentative contract agreement with Unifor, avoiding a work stoppage that could have begun as early as Monday morning.

The union issued a statement saying the four-year accord was reached during negotiations in Gatineau, Que. about an hour before the midnight Sunday strike deadline.

The agreement covers Unifor National Council 4000 and Unifor Local 100 members, representing 1,968 VIA customer service, on-board service and maintenance staff.

Union members across the country will vote on the accord over the next three weeks, and the Unifor statement says no details of the tentative agreement will be released before then.

Contract talks began last October and were conducted with the assistance of mediators assigned by the federal government.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias flew to Gatineau Sunday to join the union’s bargaining team. He’s quoted in the statement as saying “Unifor is dedicated to protecting good jobs for our members, and that’s what this agreement accomplished,” adding “We’re pleased that terms were reached without service interruption or inconvenience to passengers and our members.”

ORIGINAL STORY – Via Rail has received notice that one of its unions could go on strike as early as Monday.

The Montreal-based passenger rail service received 72-hour notice from Unifor, which represents 1,800 Via employees who work in stations, telephone sales offices, maintenance centres and administrative offices.

The notice is part of normal negotiations under federal law and doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a strike or lockout.

The earliest service disruptions could begin would be Monday just after midnight.

In the meantime, Via says no trains are affected by the strike notice and the two sides are working to reach an agreement.

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