Montreal

CN Rail slashes jobs as weakening economy cuts into freight volumes

Canadian National Railway Co., whose headquarters are in Montreal, said it is "adjusting its resources to demand" but wouldn't say how many people will be affected.

Montreal-based company says it is 'adjusting its resources to demand'

CN Rail, Canada's largest railway, employs 24,000 people in Canada and the United States. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Canadian National Railway Co. is confirming job cuts as it deals with a weakening North American economy that has eroded demand for railroad transportation.

The company, whose headquarters are in Montreal, said it is "adjusting its resources to demand" but wouldn't say how many people will be affected.

It said some employees will be placed on furlough, and there will be reductions in both management and union job numbers.

In October, Canada's largest railroad operator cut its adjusted earnings per share outlook percentage for 2019 to the high single digits, down from predictions of low double-digit growth.

Freight volumes came in below expectations in the third quarter, and manufacturing has also fallen off, it said.

CN Rail also said it was affected by a slowdown in the British Columbia forestry sector, where high log prices and dwindling timber supply have prompted shutdowns or curtailments in more than two dozen mills, and due to the weather-delayed grain crop on the Prairies.

"As explained during CN's Q3 results, the company is adjusting its resources to demand," said spokesperson Alexandre Boulé, in a statement.

"This includes the difficult decision of adjusting its workforce to demand levels by placing some employees on furlough and reducing both management and union job numbers due to a weakening of many sectors of the economy. These adjustments have already started to take place across the network."

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