Unifor responded positively to Coventry Connections’ most recent offer as the parties work towards a resolution of the taxi drivers’ lockout in Ottawa.
The drivers – represented by Unifor Local 1688 – have been locked in a labour dispute with the employer since early August. Coventry Connections and the Ottawa International Airport Authority agreed to change the drivers’ dispatch fees from a monthly rate to a per-fare rate. Unifor protested the changes, leading the employer to effectively lock out the drivers.
Along with its response to the employer, Unifor also requested the mediator assigned to the file by the Ontario Labour Relations Board convene a meeting as soon as possible.
“We want nothing more than to reach a deal that is fair for everyone and our members are eager to get back to work,” said Bob Orr, Unifor’s assistant to the secretary treasurer.
According to Unifor, Coventry Connections cancelled the parties’ recent bargaining session and has ignored multiple requests for a meeting. As a result, the union’s most recent offer was sent by email.
In the offer, Unifor accepted that all taxi stands will be characterized as “open stands” but called on the employer to reduce the stand rent and the per-passenger pickup fee at the airport.
“Taxi drivers in Ottawa work long hours at minimum wage-level incomes,” Orr said. “Coventry has demanded a five-fold increase in dispatch fees, to be paid by the drivers. They simply cannot afford such a massive cut in their pay.”
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