Saskatoon transit workers to halt overtime work Friday

Transit union rejects city’s latest offer of seven per cent over three years
||Last Updated: 07/28/2011

Saskatoon transit workers will stop working overtime at 1 p.m. on Friday if the city and the employee’s union cannot reach a deal on a new collective agreement today.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 615 members voted 90 per cent in favour of rejecting the city’s latest offer, which included a seven per cent wage increase over three years.

They gave the city 48-hour notice of the planned work-to-rule action yesterday. The workers will be in a legal position to walk off the job Friday, but have chosen the overtime refusal instead.

“ATU Local 615 members are very concerned as they feel the City does not want to negotiate a fair Collective Agreement with [its] membership,” a statement on the union’s website reads. “This should give the City a clear indication that their offer was not even close.”

The union has also indicated that the city is seeking to increase employee contributions to the employee sick bank, which is used to pay for long-term disability. The union claims that this point erodes the city’s current offer to 5.4 per cent over the three-year period.

The union is seeking a wage increase of 10 per cent over three years.

The top pay for Saskatoon Transit and Access Transit operators is around $3.00 per hour less than the western Canadian average of $25.38 per hour, ATU Local 615 vice-president Jim Yakubowsk told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

Yakubowski also indicated that the transit union executive “remains optimistic” a deal can be reached Thursday. Prior to providing the job action notice, the parties had been scheduled to resume negotiations in late August.

The last contract expired in late 2009.

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