CALGARY -- A rail strike has been temporarily averted after the federal labour minister ordered employees of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. to vote on the company's final offers, just hours before they were set to walk off the job.

Statements from both CP Rail and two unions representing workers say the minister's order to administer a ratification vote on each of the offers follows advice of federal mediators.

In a release late Friday, representatives for the unions recommended that their members reject the company's offers.

Earlier this week, the Teamsters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers gave the railway a 72-hour notice of strike action.

CP Rail said in statement that the minister's order means there will be no disruption in commuter or freight service.

But a statement from the unions say the company's offers don't have a "chance in hell of being ratified."

An electronic vote on the offers will be conducted by the Canada Industrial Relations Boards at an undetermined date.