12/05/2012 10:24 EST | Updated 02/04/2013 05:12 EST

Canadian Pacific Railway Union Questions Job Cuts

Flickr: Hicham Souilmi
The union representing more than half of Canadian Pacific Railway's workers is concerned about their future, and hopes to find out more information today about which jobs will be cut following an announcement Tuesday that 4,500 jobs will be lost by 2016.

Of the 4,500, 1,700 are expected by the end of 2012.

The company said the planned cuts are part of a plan to streamline the company’s operations and improve growth.

Doug Finnson, vice-president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, said he’s surprised at how many jobs are expected to be lost.

“The announcement that caught me off guard is announcing that 1,700 jobs will be done by the end of the year — that's just four weeks away — and I'm wondering how they're going to accomplish that other than to hand off 1,700 layoff notices for Christmas,” Finnson said, adding he has no idea where in the country the layoffs will occur.

“I feel badly for those people in Calgary in head office who may be going home tonight and don’t know if they’re one of the 1,700 or not."

Finnson said he was aware about 40 people in Winnipeg will be laid off. He also said the railway has been working towards moving 35 jobs out of Calgary and into Lethbridge or Swift Current, Sask., but he says he wasn’t aware of its larger plans to lay off thousands more.

“I find it very odd that they make a blanket statement of 4,500 jobs, which is a huge number, and then have absolutely no detail, so I’m interested in wondering what the investor community is going to ask [Wednesday] to the operations people, if they’re going to put some details to this blanket statement.”

Finnson said he expects to get more details Wednesday.

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