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Red flags raised about safety of Southern Railway practices during lockout, says CUPE

BURNABY – A cell phone video shot earlier this week shows a Southern Railway train operated dangerously by managers attempting to replace locked-out employees. The video shows a train rolling through a crossing on Annacis Island with no headlights or front ditchlights on, despite thick fog at the time and with one manager riding on the stairs of the leading locomotive.

Sections 17 and 19 of Canadian Rail Operating Rules – Signals Operations require that headlights and ditch lights be kept on at all times during a crossing.

CUPE 7000 has reported other incidents to the Safety Authority since the lockout began. This proves that Southern Railway needs to park the trains and get back to the bargaining table.

“This video raises concern about people with less experience running trains during the lockout,” said CUPE 7000 president Bill Magri. “If this kind of thing keeps happening, someone is going to get hurt.”  The video footage was taken just after six p.m. on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at a crossing just off the Annacis Channel bridge.

On January 5, Southern Railway locked out 126 members of CUPE Local 7000 following the union’s rejection of its final offer, a concessions-filled package that failed to address the union’s health and safety concerns. Since then, the trains have been operated by approximately 20 of the company’s 34 managers.

“They need to drop the concessions and negotiate a fair collective agreement so that we can get these trains running properly again by the people who know how to operate them and stop putting public safety at risk,” Said Magri.

Southern Rail is owned by the Washington Group, which itself is owned by Montana billionaire Dennis Washington, the 86th richest man in the United States.

The video can be seen  here.

For more information, please contact:

Bill Magri
CUPE 7000 President
 604-612-6432

Louise Oetting
CUPE National Representative
 250-812-2081

Dan Gawthrop
CUPE Communications Representative
 604-999-6132