Sunday, February 25, 2024

Canadian National | Francophone workers under ‘pressure’

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Not only on the board of directors of the Canadian National (CN) has the French been undermined. Its new chief executive, Tracy Robinson, was warned earlier this month that language accidents had been on the ground frequently for nearly two years in the east of the country.

Posted at 5:00 am

Julian Arsino

Julian Arsino

Motorists, conductors and yard chiefs who are not ‘comfortable’ enough to work in English and who will face ‘pressure’, ‘threats of disciplinary action’ and ‘treatment that may sometimes lead to retaliation’… This is part of the grievances raised by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference in letter to Robinson on April 5. Journalism I got the document.

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Tracy Robinson, CEO of Canadian National

“We know how diversity, equality and inclusion are the core values ​​of CN, so it is difficult for us to understand why we still have to demand French-speaking rights in 2022,” union leaders Jean-Michel Halley and Alain Gratien wrote.

They are concerned about the language imbalance within the company’s activities in Montreal, particularly in the Tashiro organizing arena, with “several bilingual English-speaking employees arriving to fill the staffing shortage”.

The issuance of this letter comes as a Canadian national railway company – subject to Official Languages ​​Law – She was heavily criticized for not proposing any French-speaking candidate for membership in its 11-member board of directors.

Asked about the April 5 speech, CNN replied that it “respects[ait] The Official Languages ​​Law He said he was “proud” that his employees and clients could “communicate in the official language of their choice.”

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translation staff

Recently, on February 20, the country’s largest railway asked a bilingual employee to act as an interpreter for a crew in order to allow the train to perform some maneuvers, the letter claims. Journalism I have got. The two-page document does not provide further details about the incident in question.

Another male employee [sa difficulté] To work in English, he was ordered to stay seated at the station and call his supervisor [toutes les] Two hours “.

In addition, since the summer of 2021, there is only one supervisor for the Eastern Canada region (Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces), the Teamsters claimed. According to the union, this supervisor does not speak French.

“Although this is in our eyes a profound lack of respect for French-speaking staff and applicable legislation, it is above all a major security issue,” wrote M. Halle and Gratin.

How can we expect to implement safe rail operations when the relevant stakeholders cannot adequately communicate in the same language?

Excerpt from the letter to the CEO of CN

Railway workers also wrote to Journalism To report such incidents.

“Recently, an employee was threatened with disciplinary penalties if he refused to work in English,” said a worker, who asked not to be named for fear of employer retaliation. In another case, the company had an intern sit on the locomotive and translate radio communications. »

Photo by Alain Roberge, Press Archives

CN cars are waiting in Richmond

In 2020, Teamsters President and CEO at the time, Jean-Jacques Rouest, was arrested for expressing their concerns as well as their dissatisfaction. The union particularly complained about the deterioration of services in the French language after the relocation of the Office of Manpower Management to Edmonton, Alberta.

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“Since this event, we have seen incidents multiply by leaps and bounds,” says Stephane Lacroix, director of communications for Teamsters in Quebec.

After the change in control in CN, the guild felt the need to return to Robinson. A meeting on this matter is scheduled for next week between the employer and the union. Mr. Lacroix hopes the company’s new management will not just “send wishful thinking”.

According to CN, the situation at Taschereau Square is attributed to a “temporary labor shortage”.

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    In recent years, there have been at least two French-speaking officials on CN’s board of directors.

    Source: Canadian National Railways

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