CN strike prompts potash mine shutdown, triggering 550 temporary layoffs

CN strike prompts potash mine shutdown, triggering 550 temporary layoffs
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SASKATOON — Nutrien Ltd. says it is temporarily shutting down its largest potash mine because of the strike at Canadian National Railway Co., resulting in some 550 short-term layoffs at the fertilizer giant.

Nutrien chief executive Chuck Magro says workers received notices today alerting them that the mine in southeastern Saskatchewan will halt operations for two weeks starting Dec. 2. The vast majority of the Rocanville mine’s product is shipped by CN Rail, which is now operating at 10 per cent capacity.

Magro says the “hardship” and “uncertainty” farmers and mine workers face due to the strike in a year already plagued by poor weather and trade disputes is “extremely disappointing.”

Hundreds of Quebec farmers also marched through Montreal streets today alongside a convoy of tractors to dump piles of corn at the steps of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s riding office, calling for action by Ottawa to resolve the week-long strike.

Ottawa has continued to urge a negotiated settlement rather than reconvening Parliament ahead of schedule for back-to-work legislation as some industries and provincial ministers have demanded.

About 3,200 CN staff across the country, who have been without a contract since July 23, walked off the job early last Tuesday morning over worries about long hours, fatigue and what they consider dangerous working conditions.

A Nutrien spokesman says about 50 more employees at the mine will likely be affected, but remain on the job.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2019.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR, TSX:NTR)

The Canadian Press

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