Halifax transit workers on strike

Last-minute bargaining fails, commuters left scrambling
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 02/02/2012

About 750 Halifax transit workers at Metro Transit took to the picket lines Feb. 2 after the two parties were unable to reach a final agreement.

The strike has left thousands of commuters scrambling to find alternative means to get around. About 96,000 people use the service every day, according to the city.

The city’s bargaining team called union negotiators back to talks just before midnight -- the union’s strike deadline -- with an offer, but the union says there were 70 outstanding issues on the table.

“We went there looking for dialogue and there was absolutely no dialogue,” Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) president Ken Wilson told CBC News.

A statement from the city said it was tabling two offers dealing with shift scheduling and a wage increase for the transit workers.

The first offer contained a six per cent wage hike over three years and the implementation of a scheduling system known as rostering. The system assigns weekly blocks of shifts, rather than allowing bus operators to pick individual shifts based on seniority.

The second proposal contained a 3.5 per cent increase over three years and the union’s preferred scheduling system.

Mayor Peter Kelly had hoped the ATU would allow the drivers to decide on the offers.

“(The city’s) bargaining team tried hard to get a deal that would avoid a work stoppage and it is disappointing that the union bargaining team chose not to take it to the membership for a vote,” Kelly said in a statement.

Halifax regional council is holding an emergency session to discuss the day-old transit strike that has left tens of thousands of people without bus or ferry service.

An emergency meeting has been called by city politicians to determine how they can deal with the large number of commuters now without a ride.

Add Comment

  • *
  • *
  • *
  • *