Chris Fox and Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, February 25, 2020 5:42AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 25, 2020 10:11PM EST
Thousands of GTA commuters faced a difficult time getting home Tuesday as rail protests hampered GO Train service.
New protests cropped up Tuesday on several rail lines, affecting service on the Milton, Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines.
At around 6:15 p.m., Metrolinx said that all service was resuming across all lines, but advised customers to expect longer travel times, residual delays and some cancellations throughout the evening.
The protests have been set up in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in British Columbia, who are opposing a pipeline project and infringements on their territorial rights.
A number of people set up a blockade west of Aldershot GO Station on Monday night and had remained on the tracks throughout Tuesday, forcing Metrolinx to suspend GO train service between Hamilton and Aldershot stations and replace it with buses.
Police served the protesters with an injunction ordering them to leave on Tuesday morning but did not forcibly remove them from the premises.
At around 5:15 p.m., CP24’s cameras captured the protesters peacefully leaving the area in two large groups.
However their departure came about an hour after another blockade formed on the tracks near Lambton Arena, in the area of Dundas Street West and Scarlett Road.
Service was completely suspended along GO Transit’s Milton line due to that blockade.
A media liaison for the blockade said eight people had been arrested at the demonstration.
Metrolinx said that it was unable to provide buses to supplement service along the route because it does not have enough of them to carry the 20,000 commuters that utilize the line each night.
The agency later said that the resumption of service would not rely on buses, but would involve trains taking a longer route to make use of a detour.
As of 10 p.m., a large crowd was still at the site of the blockade, along with a large number of police officers.
“We are on scene to keep the peace and ensure public safety for all involved and limit disruption to critical infrastructure,” Toronto police said in a tweet.
Service was also suspended between Union and Pickering GO stations on the Lakeshore East Line for close to an hour due to a disruption near Guildwood. Service resumed on that line at around 5 p.m.
Video captured by CP24 reporters at Union Station showed huge crowding amid the disruptions.
— CP24 (@CP24) February 25, 2020
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said it was “very hard to say” how much longer it would take people to get home.
“If you can hold back from coming to Union yet – you can see how crowded it is – I would wait a little while,” Aikins said. “I would plan on it taking you much longer to get home regardless of your route.”
She said that while trains are moving, some are moving very slowly, resulting in backlogs. Other trains also had to turn around and return to Union because of the protests, resulting in a surge of customers waiting to get home.
“There’s just congestion all throughout our corridor,” Aikins said. “It’s an extremely difficult situation for all involved. We’re doing the best we can.”
She advised customers to stay tuned to the latest updates.
Aikins said Metrolinx is planning for the possibility of further disruptions in the coming days.
“We’re planning farther in advance right across our system,” she said. “These are security incidents that we just don’t know when they’re going to happen, when they’re going to end.
“They are out of our control and we’re doing what we can to make sure everybody stays safe. That’s our first priority. We want you to stay safe around our tracks.”
The transit agency said late Tuesday that it is anticipating a normal morning commute for Wednesday morning, but warned that could change if there are circumstances beyond its control.
Tentative deal between union workers and beef producer Cargill struck | CTV News – CTV News Calgary
With less than a week to go before workers were set to go on strike at Cargill’s High River, Alta. beef processing plant, the company says a tentative deal has been reached.
The company announced the development on Wednesday and says it is “encouraged by the outcome” of recent talks.
“After a long day of collaborative discussion, we reached an agreement on an offer that the bargaining committee will recommend to its members. The offer is comprehensive and fair and includes retroactive pay, signing bonuses, a 21 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract and improved health benefits,” Cargill wrote in a statement to CTV News via email.
The company adds it also “remains optimistic” a deal can be finalized before the strike deadline.
“(We) encourage employees to vote on this offer which recognizes the important role they play in Cargill’s work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. While we navigate this negotiation, we continue to focus on fulfilling food manufacturer, retail and food service customer orders while keeping markets moving for farmers and ranchers,” it wrote.
The United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union (UFCW) Local 401 was expected to go on strike on Dec. 6.
It rejected the most recent attempt at a deal on Nov. 25 by a 98 per cent margin.
According to a statement from UFCW Local 401, the negotiating team engaged in “a marathon day” of talks with the company on Tuesday.
“Late in the evening, our bargaining committee concluded that they were in receipt of a fair offer and that they were prepared to present that offer to their coworkers with a recommendation of acceptance,” it wrote in a statement.
The union says the tentative deal will “significantly improve” the lives of Cargill workers and will be the ‘best food processing contract in Canada.”
Highlights from the deal include:
- $4,200 in retroactive pay for many employees;
- $1,000 signing bonus;
- $1,000 COVID-19 bonus;
- More than $6,000 total bonuses for workers three weeks before Christmas;
- $5 wage increase for many employees;
- Improved health benefits; and
- Provisions to facilitate a new culture of health, safety, dignity and respect in the workplace
While UFCW Local 401 president Thomas Hesse calls the deal “fair,” he will support workers on the picket line if they decide to reject the proposal.
“If they do accept it, I’ll work with them every day to make Cargill a better workplace,” Hesse said in a statement. “I will do as our members ask me to do.
“I respect all of the emotions that they feel and the suffering that they have experienced.”
Employees are expected the vote on the new deal between Dec. 2 and 4.
Afterpay delays vote on $29 billion buyout as Square awaits Spain’s nod
Afterpay Ltd will delay a shareholder meet to approve Square Inc’s $29-billion buyout of the Australian buy now, pay later leader, as the Jack Dorsey-led payment company awaits regulatory nod in Spain.
The investor meet was set for Dec. 6, but Afterpay said it would likely take place next year as Square, which has rebranded itself to Block Inc, is likely to get an approval from the Bank of Spain only in mid-January.
The delay is unlikely to impact the completion of Australia‘s biggest deal, which is set for the first quarter of 2022, Afterpay said.
“We continue to believe the risks of the transaction closing are minimal,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Chami Ratnapala said in a brief client note.
Meanwhile, Twitter Inc co-founder Dorsey is expected to focus on Square after stepping down as chief executive of the social media platform as it looks to expand beyond its payment business and into new technologies like blockchain.
Afterpay shares fell more than 6%, far underperforming the broader Australian market, tracking Square’s 6.6% drop overnight in U.S. market on worries over the Omicron variant.
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian, Sameer Manekar and Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Rashmi Aich and Arun Koyyur)
Canada Goose under fresh fire in China over no-return policies
China’s top consumer protection organisation has warned Canada Goose Holdings Inc against “bullying” customers in China with its return policies, just three months after the winterwear brand was fined for false advertising.
The premium down jacket manufacturer has been a hot topic on Chinese social media in recent days over its handling of a case involving a customer who wanted a refund of her purchases amounting to 11,400 yuan ($1,790.17) after finding quality issues.
She said she was told by Canada Goose that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were strictly non-refundable, according to her account which went viral online.
State-backed media such as the Global Times newspaper later cited Canada Goose as denying that it had a no-refund policy and that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were refundable in line with Chinese laws. The company did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
That has not failed to quell criticism of the brand.
“No brand has any privileges in front of consumers,” the government-backed China Consumer Association (CCA) said in an opinion piece posted on its website on Thursday morning.
“If you don’t do what you say, regard yourself as a big brand, behave arrogantly and in a superior way, adopt discriminatory policies, be condescending and bully customers, you will for sure lose the trust of consumers and be abandoned by the market,” the CCA said.
Representatives of the brand were summoned for talks on Wednesday by the Shanghai Consumer Council to explain its refund policy in China.
The dressing down of Canada Goose comes as tension between China and Western countries has fuelled patriotism and driven some shoppers to turn to home-grown labels.
Canada Goose was also fined 450,000 yuan in September in China for “misleading” consumers in its ads.
($1 = 6.3681 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Sophie Yu, Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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