06/10/2013 05:23 EDT | Updated 08/10/2013 05:12 EDT

Via Rail's Strike Contingency Plan Rolls Ahead Before June 14 Canadian Auto Workers Union Deadline

In this July, 26, 2009, file photo, passengers board the Via Rail train to Toronto in Montreal. The Canadian government, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, denied a published report that it is thinking about selling Via Rail. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Peter McCabe, File)
MONTREAL - Via Rail says if its customer service and other employees go on strike this week, management will continue to offer basic railway services.

The railway is in negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers union and faces a deadline of 12:01 a.m. on Friday to reach a new collective agreement.

But if the talks fail, Via says it has a contingency plan that includes daily trips in the morning and at the end of the day on the Quebec City to Windsor, Ont., corridor.

Long-distance trips and service to remote locations will be provided once a week.

The two sides have been in talks since the fall of 2012 and are currently in the process of mediation.

The CAW represents about 2,000 customer service, on-board service and maintenance workers at the railway.

"VIA Rail remains committed to negotiating a fair agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers, in a bid to avoid any disruption to the travel plans of its customers," said Via Rail president and chief executive Marc Laliberte in a statement.

"At the same time we want to confirm that a basic service plan is ready to be put in place on all our routes, including remote areas of the country, to ensure that Canadians can continue to travel by train, should there be a work stoppage."

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