06/03/2013 05:40 EDT | Updated 06/04/2013 10:27 EDT

Via Rail Strike? Workers Could Walk Off Job June 14, Union Warns


Some VIA Rail workers could be out on strike as soon as next Friday, after the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union issued a strike notice to the rail carrier.

The CAW said in a statement released Monday that 94 per cent of VIA’s customer service, on-board service and maintenance staff voted in favour of strike action.

Those workers will be in a legal strike position as of June 14.

“The high strike vote reflects the frustrations and insecurities our members feel at VIA,” CAW chief Ken Lewenza said in a statement.

“This is a direct result of a drop in federal funding and VIA’s so-called 'modernization' plan, which has seen routes cut, stations closed and de-staffed. This plan is not the path to modernizing Canada’s passenger railway services.”

The CAW represents about 2,000 employees at VIA.

VIA announced a wave of budget cuts last summer that included laying off 200 workers, or about 10 per cent of its workforce.

The cuts allowed the rail company to triple its profit in the first quarter, to $11.5 million.

But the cuts have prompted concerns about the viability of rail travel in Canada.

CLARIFICATION: The CAW had originally said they would be in a strike position as of June 6, but would not take strike action before June 14. They have since amended their statement to say that they will not be in a legal strike position until June 14.

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