12/19/2012 08:09 EST | Updated 02/18/2013 05:12 EST

Canadian Pacific announces progress in wrapping up a number of labour negotiations

CALGARY - Canadian Pacific negotiations with the Teamsters union have wrapped up, with a federally-appointed arbitrator imposing an agreement as the company settles a host of labour disputes this year.

The railroad (TSX:CP) says it is pleased the process has finally concluded with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, representing approximately 220 rail traffic controllers, and 4, 200 locomotive engineers, conductors, trainspersons and yardmen.

Arbitrator William Kaplan's settlement includes a cap on pension growth and a new pension accrual rate for future hires.

The deal is three years in length and is retroactive to January 2012.

“Mr. Kaplan had an extremely difficult job. He was thoughtful and sought at all times to close the gap between the parties. CP is appreciative of his efforts,” said Peter Edwards, CP's vice-president of human resources.

Kaplan has served as an arbitrator or mediator in a host of disputes since 1989.

The government moved quickly to end a strike by 4,800 engineers and conductors last May by passing back-to-work legislation.The back-to-work bill angered both the union and opposition critics who said it short-circuited any chance of the two sides working out a deal alone.

But the governing Conservatives made no apologies, saying the strike at the rail company was affecting the economy.

CP also said Wednesday that a five-year agreement reached with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on Nov. 15 has been ratified with 94 per cent acceptance.The contract begins Jan. 1.

“I am pleased we were able to reach another agreement with a key union and we are looking forward to working with the IBEW,” said Hunter Harrison, president and CEO.

“With our labour situation settled, CP is in very good position to continue the work of being an even more reliable and efficient railway for our customers.”

Last week, the railroad announced last week it reached a new five-year deal with Teamsters Canada covering 2,600 workers, which includes three per cent annual wage increases, a curtailing of outsourcing and increased benefits.

The employees covered by the new contract maintain, repair and build tracks, bridges and other structures for the railway.

A ratification vote is expected in January.

The deals follow an announcement by the railway earlier this month that it will look to cut about 4,500 jobs as part of a plan to drive down costs.

The move is part of an overhaul at the railway by CP chief executive Hunter Harrison, who took over earlier this year after bitter proxy fight.