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Rocky Mountaineer on-board attendants going back to work after 15 months

Employees returning to Vancouver-Whistler train after lockout as soon as Sept. 21



Locked-out Rocky Mountaineer on-board attendants are finally going back to work, after almost 15 months on the picket line.

The company that owns the trains and Teamsters Local 31 last week brokered a new three-year deal. The union represented 103 staff in the dispute.

The tentative agreement was ratified by employees in a vote on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Over 100 employees were impacted since their contract expired in January 2011, with the lockout coming on June 22 last year.

The union said staff had been looking for wage increases after three years of no increase. The company used non-unionized replacement workers for the period of the lockout. This practice is against British Columbian labour legislation, but allowed because the company falls under federal labour laws.

"We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with the union that is fair, appropriate for the current economic climate and ensures we remain a strong company for years to come," Ian Robertson of Rocky Mountaineer said in a release.

The company said returning unionized staff will undergo "a significant amount of re-training, allowing them time to ramp up to full performance." Staff could be back on the job as early as Friday, Sept. 21.

No further details of the agreement are currently available.

The Rocky Mountaineer is a popular train option for tourists, which travels daily between Vancouver and Whistler from April to October. The company also offers travel through the B.C. Interior and the Rockies to Calgary.