No GO bus service Monday if transit workers strike: Metrolinx

No GO bus service Monday if transit workers strike: Metrolinx

GO bus riders are urged to plan ahead for Monday, as bus service will be unavailable if thousands of GO Transit workers go on strike.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587, which represents 2,200 station attendants, bus operators, maintenance workers, transit safety officers and office staff, said 81 percent of its members voted against Metrolinx’s latest proposal, agreeing instead to will attack the demonstrations.

“Our members have made it absolutely clear. We will not accept an agreement unless it addresses our primary concern of contracting,” ATU Local 1587 President Rob Cormier said in a statement.

“These basic anti-contracting protections are the norm for all other transit agencies in our region to ensure that experienced staff are on the job to keep buses safe. Without these protections, Metrolinx may contract with outside companies.

In an interview with CP24 on Friday afternoon, Cormier said he remains optimistic the strike can be averted. He noted that the union booked the hotel in hopes of winning a new contract with Metrolinx this weekend.

“We plan to work all weekend. We want to reach an agreement for our members. Our last resort is to strike,” Cormier said.

About 700 union members are bus operators.

Metrolinx, the Crown agency responsible for GO Transit, said in a statement that it was “disappointed” that its offer had been rejected and that a strike was planned.

“We will work through the weekend to reach an agreement and remain open to discussing next steps with our ATU employees,” Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins said.

While there will be no GO bus service on Monday, if the strike continues, GO trains will continue to operate as scheduled.

Aikins said 15 percent of GO customers use buses.

Transit workers originally planned to go on strike on Oct. 31, but that was put on hold so the union could present Metrolinx’s offer to its members.

They have been without a contract since June. While the transit agency and the union met months before the agreement was set to expire, they failed to craft a new deal, leading union members to vote for a strike mandate in August.

In an interview with CP24 Friday night, Aikins said the agency has a contingency plan if the event goes ahead.

She advised customers to continue to monitor GO Transit’s website and social media accounts for any updates on the situation.

When asked about the union’s concerns about contract workers, Aikins said Metrolinx is committed to ensuring its employees have job security.

“We have no intention of laying them off or replacing them with other workers or contract workers,” she said.

That’s why Aikins believes a deal could be reached this weekend.

“We don’t think there’s anything insurmountable for us to be able to reach an agreement,” she said, adding that Metrolinx will work around the clock with the union this weekend to craft a new deal.

“We believe that if we talk about it, we will find a solution that both parties are happy with. We have solved so many problems.”

GO is regional public transportation for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.

– with files from Joshua Freeman

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