GO Transit negotiations stall as strike deadline nears
The union representing Ontario GO Transit workers says that negotiations aren’t progressing as the Sept. 24 strike deadline nears.
"No wage offer beyond a zero per cent increase has been forthcoming from the company, so it is difficult to see how this is going to be resolved,” says president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587, Ray Doyle. "The cost of living has gone up, management salaries have gone up, but the frontline workers are apparently entitled to nothing."
The union set the Sept. 24 strike deadline after Metrolinx, the company that manages GO Transit, was reprimanded by the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) for delaying a strike after the company requested the board review whether the Essential Services Agreement the two parties reached in March 2011 was legal.
The union claims Metrolinx was preventing a strike during the Ontario provincial election.
If the two parties are unable to reach an agreement, GO bus service, which carries about 40,000 people a day, will be suspended. This would be the first strike in GO’s 40-year history.
The two parties disagree on wages and working conditions.
York Region Transit drivers anticipate vote
ATU Local 1587 also represents about 330 York Region Transit (YRT) drivers who are also set to strike on Oct. 24. The union is anticipating offers to be made by the two companies that manage the drivers, First Student Transit and Miller.
"We expect an offer from both companies tomorrow, but we're not holding our breath that they will be acceptable, given what we have seen so far from management," says Doyle. “We'll have to see what's in the package before we give a recommendation. Our members are the lowest-paid in the industry in the GTA, by far, and there has to be some real movement towards equity for an offer to be acceptable."
If the offer is turned down, the union will pursue a strike. It is possible that one group could accept and the other reject their respective settlements, but Doyle does not expect that to happen.
First Student Transit and Miller operate buses for YRT in the towns of Markham and Richmond Hill.
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