Striking Bombardier railcar workers to vote on conciliator plan

Tue Dec 4, 2012 11:54am EST

* Company supports report, union position not known

* Full production may resume Thursday morning

* Workers on strike since Nov. 1

TORONTO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Workers at a Bombardier Inc railcar factory in the Canadian province of Quebec will vote Wednesday night on a conciliator's recommendation that could end a month-long strike, the company said on Tuesday.

Bombardier said it backs a report submitted on Sunday by conciliator Jean Poirier, while the Confederation of National Trade Unions said it would disclose its position to members just ahead of the vote.

Neither side has revealed the recommendations contained in the report.

Some 330 workers at the plant in La Pocatiere, which is 360 km (225 miles) northeast of Montreal, walked off the job Nov. 1 over issues around outsourcing, pension funding and salary. Their contract expired on Sept. 30, 2011.

If the workers agree to the conciliator's recommendations, full production can resume Thursday morning, said Bombardier spokesman Marc Laforge.

The plant, which makes rail equipment for customers including the Toronto Transit Commission, New Jersey Transit and the Chicago Transit Authority, has honored commitments to customers, as it has 200 non-union employees who have taken over some factory work, Laforge said.

Separately, members of the machinists' union at Bombardier's Learjet facility in Wichita, Kansas, voted last month to accept a proposed contract. That ended a five-week strike which hinged on healthcare issues.

Shares of Bombardier, the world's largest passenger railcar maker and third-biggest plane maker, were down 6 Canadian cents at C$3.33 on the Toronto Stock Exchange at midday on Tuesday.

The stock has dropped about 18 percent in the year-to-date, largely amid worries about the development schedule for the company's new C-Series jets.

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