(Toronto) The union representing striking GO Transit workers said negotiations will resume on Thursday, a day earlier than scheduled. A reversal of the situation while the union earlier accused the employer of “delaying tactics”.
The strike began Monday and disrupted regional bus service in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, causing headaches for thousands of transit users.
The United Transportation Union (ATU) said Metrolinx, which operates GO Transit, offered the two sides a meeting on Friday to negotiate the contract for the 2,200 striking workers, including bus drivers, station attendants and controllers.
But the president of SUT Canada had countered that the union was ready to meet at any time and called on Metrolinx to resume talks sooner. The employer has thus agreed to bring the resumption forward by one day.
“I hope they have heard our demands and have made the necessary adjustments in order to present a contract of employment that will appease everyone,” commented the president of labor union 1587, Rob Cormier.
This new meeting would be the 21e bargaining session since the beginning of the talks which began last April with a view to reaching a new collective agreement. The union has announced that the strike will continue until a tentative agreement is reached.
“The past two days should serve as an indicator of just how committed these workers are to getting the contract they deserve,” said Cormier.
Last month, the union postponed the strike originally scheduled for October 31 so that its members could vote on an offer tabled by Metrolinx. The proposal was rejected by 81%, which had the effect of kicking off the strike last Monday.
The union accused Metrolinx of failing to table a written offer addressing key issues, including commitments to prevent the contracting out of workers to outside companies and to hire more full-time employees.
Metrolinx, a provincial government agency, said it had not had enough time to prepare a response to new issues raised by the union before the strike began.
The agency said on Tuesday it was happy the union was resuming negotiations, adding it remained hopeful a deal could be reached.
The union also called on Transport Minister Caroline Mulroney on Wednesday to intervene.
During a press conference on another topic, Mr.me Mulroney said the government is “supporting Metrolinx as it continues to work to get a good deal with ATU.”