Ford of Canada plants told 1,450 workers to go home on Monday because of the strike by Canadian National Railway workers, Dow Jones reported, citing The Canadian Press.


Spokeswoman Lauren More reportedly said 1,200 day workers at a car assembly plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, were sent home, as well as 250 workers on one assembly line at an engine plant in Windsor.


More reportedly said the strike interfered with components arriving by train and added: “We’re assessing the feasibility of temporarily using other modes of transportation, and we have moved to truck shipments where feasible.”


According to the report, GM Canada spokesman Stew Low didn’t confirm Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) statements that GM had also diverted shipments to trucks but said “a lot of scrambling has gone on behind the scenes in order to keep vehicles moving to our customers.”


“There’s a limited capacity in each (transport) sector, you can only divert so much,” Low reportedly added.


The Dow Jones report said GM Canada uses trains to carry most of its new vehicles from a truck and two car plants in Oshawa, Ontario, while trains carry only 10% of the parts coming to the plants.


According to Dow Jones, the CAW claims there are train delays across the country and that the company cannot carry on for long using non-union staff. The most vulnerable area for the rail company appears to be intermodal shipping yards, rather than bulk shipping.


CN is hurting because there are delays, mostly on trucks coming into its intermodal terminals,” CAW spokesman Abe Rosner reportedly said, adding that locomotive engineers have filed reports with Transport Canada about air systems not properly connected on trains, “and of course the people connecting the air systems are the people replacing our (union) members.”


“Auto companies have transferred a big part of their shipments away from CN to truck so whether there are delays there or not, it certainly means CN has lost business on that front,” Rosner reportedly said.


The Dow Jones report said CN spokesman Mark Hallman acknowledged to Canadian Press that there were some delays on Monday but said operations at the inter-continental railway “remain near normal levels”.


Hallman reportedly said court orders restricting picketing at entrances to its four main intermodal yards in Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Brampton, Ontario, are ensuring that truck traffic flows in and out smoothly.


The Canadian Labour Department has reportedly appointed two mediators to try to bring the two sides together to talk after the CAW members turned down a three-year contract that provided for annual wage increases of 3%, Dow Jones said.