CN Railway. (The Canadian Press files)

CN Railway. (The Canadian Press files)

CN employees heading back to work after temporary layoffs as blockades wind down

Anti-pipeline blockades sidelined more than 1,400 freight and passenger trains

Canadian National Railway Co. has started to call back most of the 450 workers temporarily laid off last month, when blockades brought the company’s eastern network to a near standstill.

The blockades sidelined more than 1,400 freight and passenger trains and, according to analyst estimates, cost the company scores of millions of dollars.

CN chief executive JJ Ruest says the recovery process will take several weeks as shipments of bulk and consumer products ramp up.

CN shut down its eastern network on Feb. 13, one week into a blockade by Tyendinaga Mohawk protesters that cut a key rail link east of Belleville, Ont.

Provincial police cleared the blockade last week, which was launched in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline slated to pass through their traditional territory in British Columbia.

Hereditary chiefs reached a draft agreement Sunday with senior federal and provincial government ministers centering on rights and title.

READ MORE: Legal experts say injunctions not effective in Indigenous-led land disputes

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en chiefs, ministers reach proposed agreement in B.C. pipeline dispute

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