Canadian Pacific Railway Negotiating with Sikh Truck Drivers Regarding Hard Hats

August 27, 2005

Source: The Star

On August 27, 2005 The Star reported, "Canadian Pacific Railway plans to negotiate with Sikh truck drivers to avoid a potential legal challenge over a controversial hard-hat rule that violates the group's religious requirement to wear turbans. 'As far as we know, the directive of the enforcement came from CPR Calgary (company headquarters). The management in Ontario has been sensitive to these Sikh drivers and the issues surrounding the compatibility of wearing hard hats and turbans,' the truck drivers' lawyer, Axy Leighl, said in an interview yesterday. 'Obviously, there's a different political atmosphere in Alberta, where there have been different litigations over turbans.' CP Rail spokesperson Paul Thurston would not comment on whether the instruction to step up enforcement of an old safety code indeed came from Calgary. But he said it is a 'normal cycle of business to review our operation and take action if something is not up to standard.' About 500 Sikh drivers, contracted by various companies to unload and pick up containers, have been up in arms after they were banned from local CP Rail terminals two weeks ago. An Aug. 1 memo said CP would enforce a rule requiring drivers to wear hard hats. Following a job stoppage earlier this week, the company has temporarily suspended its enforcement of the rule until a resolution is reached."