GO workers, including bus operators, will go on strike Monday if a new deal is not reached with Metrolinx
GO bus riders are urged to plan for Monday, as there may be no bus service if thousands of GO Transit workers strike.
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587, which represents 2,200 station workers, bus operators, maintenance workers, transit security officers and office workers, said 81 percent of its members voted against Metrolinx’s latest proposal and instead picketed agreed to play the lines.
“Our members have made it absolutely clear. We will not accept an agreement unless it addresses our primary concern, which is recruitment,” ATU Local 1587 President Rob Cormier said in a statement.
“These basic anti-contracting protections are common to all other transit agencies in our region, with experienced staff working to ensure bus safety. Without these protections, Metrolinx could contract with outside companies.”
Cormier, who spoke with CP24 on Friday afternoon, said he is still optimistic the strike can be avoided. The union has indicated that it has booked a hotel, with the aim of obtaining a new contract with Metrolinx this weekend.
“We plan to work all weekend. We want to reach an agreement for our members. Our last option is to strike,” Cormier said.
About 700 of the union’s members are bus operators.
In a statement, Metrolinx, the Crown agency responsible for GO Transit, said it was “disappointed” that its offer had been rejected and that a strike was being planned.
“We will be working throughout the weekend to reach an agreement and be open to discussing ways forward with our ATU employees,” Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins said.
If the strike, which will see no GO bus service on Monday, goes ahead, GO trains will continue to operate as scheduled.
Aikins said 15 percent of GO customers use the buses.
Transport workers initially planned to strike on October 31, but he stopped therefore, the union can present Metrolinx’s offer to members.
They have been without a contract since June. Although the transit agency and the union met months before the agreement expired, they failed to reach a new agreement, and union members voted. for a strike order in August.
In an interview with CP24 Friday afternoon, Aikins said the agency has a contingency plan if the job action goes ahead.
He advised customers to continue monitoring GO Transit’s website and social media accounts for any updates on the situation.
Asked about the union’s concerns about contract workers, Aikins said Metrolinx is committed to ensuring its workers have job security.
“We have no plans to lay off or replace with other workers or contract workers,” he said.
Therefore, Aikins believes that a deal can be reached this weekend.
“We don’t think anything is insurmountable that we should be able to reach an agreement,” he said, adding that he will work non-stop with the Metrolinx union to reach a new agreement this weekend.
“We think if we talk about this, we can find a solution that both sides are happy with. We’ve solved so many problems.”
GO is the regional public transit service for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.
– with files from Joshua Freeman
#workers #including #bus #operators #strike #Monday #deal #reached #Metrolinx