More Cutbacks at CN

FTLComm - Tisdale - October 23, 1998  

Canadian National announced Wednesday a massive reduction in employees of 3,500 workers in a move it says is aimed at increasing productivity so that it can remain competitive in the marketplace, siting the unfair advantage of truck transportation and air travel both using subsidised facilities. The railroad has continuously reduced service and workforce for the past fifty years, each time rationalising its moves in the same way. By reducing their trackage, workforce and ultimately their ability to provide service, their actions have, year after year made themselves less and less viable.

People can hardly be expected to use rail transportation when it is simply unavailable. By their reductions, instead of making themselves more competitive, they have merely reduced their capacity and ultimately their productivity. The inquiry into grain handling discovered that the rail companies were essentially slack and failed to do the job. Both CN and CP have their head offices in Eastern Canada and pay little attention to their actual operations, but instead concentrate their attention on quarterly profitability rather then the service and role they play in the economy.

Both railways began their lives as Crown supported operations, because it was realised that in a country as stretched out as this one, viable transportation was necessary for a viable economy. That vision has been lost in time and the result has been lost with it.