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Rail News: Labor

Strike at major customer's mine leads Ontario Northland to furlough workers, defer spending


The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) plans to implement cost-saving measures because of a strike at a Kidd Creek, Ontario, copper-zinc mine owned by Falconbridge Ltd.— one of Ontario Northland Railway’s largest customers.

The labor dispute has reduced the 836-mile regional’s traffic, and had a “significant effect on the company’s revenue and cash flow,” said ONTC President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Carmichael in a prepared statement.

The commission plans to lay off 33 seasonal employees, and furlough or cut hours for 46 full-time, non-seasonal workers. ONTC also will defer capital and “non-essential” spending, and temporarily cease training and hiring.

“We’re very disappointed to have to take these measures, especially given all of the work that our employees have been doing to grow the company,” said Carmichael. “However, these actions are necessary in the short-term in order to ensure the long-term sustainability and success of the organization.”

In addition to Ontario Northland, ONTC operates the Northlander, Little Bear and Polar Bear Express passenger trains, and provides scheduled and charter motor coach, and telecommunication services.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/14/2005