BC Rail sold to CN--workers face layoffs
Date: Monday, December 01 2003
November 25, 2003
B.C. Federation of Labour Release: CN sale a 99-year betrayal to railway communities
B.C. Federation of Labour to file objection with the Competition Bureau
The final act of betrayal on BC Rail has been played out, says B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair, with the Nov. 25 announcement of the pending sale of BC Rail to CN.
"Gordon Campbell told British Columbians he would not sell or privatize BC Rail and today he's broken that promise," said Sinclair. "The only winner in this deal is CN while the communities served by BC Rail have been betrayed."
The Premier announced $750 million was paid by CN Rail for access to the BC Rail line, access to the BC Rail Pension Plan surplus, and the engines and rail cars. An additional $250 million was paid for the $852 million tax pool accumulated by BC Rail over the last two years.
"The Premier's own documents show this rail worth $2 billion and this Premier just gave it away to one of his largest campaign contributors," said Sinclair. "Even worse is the $250 million of taxpayers money to subsidize the deal."
An analysis of the announced closures at BC Rail show the total number of layoffs will be significantly higher than the 430 workers announced today:
* 500 workers from North Vancouver headquarters
* 200 workers from Squamish Yard
* 2 workers from Lillooet
* 26 workers from Prince George
"Over 750 employees at BC Rail are being laid off at BC Rail and only this government would claim that is a good news story," said Sinclair. "If this Premier thinks he is going to be able to bribe the people of the North with their own money, he is in for another rude awakening."
The proposed swap of land for jobs in Squamish is of particular concern for British Columbians. Squamish Mayor Sutherland has endorsed the transfer of up to 150 acres of land from BC Rail to compensate for the loss of 200 direct jobs in his community.
"This deal is totally against what the City Council asked for and this Mayor has just sold out the workers and businesses in that community for a song," said Sinclair. "Squamish may have just paid the heaviest price for this deal."
The campaign to stop the sale of BC Rail is continuing and the Federation will be making representations to the Canada Competition Bureau when the issue is discussed. The Federation will also continue to support the efforts of the workers and the community in their attempts to hold this government accountable for the deal.
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For more information: Jessie Uppal 604 220-0739.