GO bus drivers strike on Monday if no deal with Metrolinx is reached over the weekend, union says

The union representing Metrolinx’s GO Transit bus drivers and other workers says it will go on with a strike on Monday unless an agreement can be reached with the provincial transit agency over the weekend.

President Rob Cormier of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587 says its approximately 2,200 members voted 81% in favor of rejecting Metrolinx’s offer.

Cormier said the union’s key issues include job security and job security related to hiring contract workers from outside companies.

“Our members have made it absolutely clear. We will not accept a deal unless it addresses our primary concern, which is the contract,” Cormier said in a press release Friday.

“These basic procurement protections are the norm in every other transit agency in our region to ensure that skilled workers are working to ensure bus safety.”

Starting at 12:01 on Monday, the union will go on strike if it fails to reach “some sort of resolution” with Metrolinx over the weekend, he said. Participants in the strike include station attendants, bus operators, maintenance workers and transit security personnel.

A spokesperson for Metrolinx said the Crown Corporation is “disappointed” by the union’s move to reject its current offer.

“We will work all weekend to get a deal and remain open to discussing the way forward with our ATU employees,” said Anne Marie Aikins in a statement to CBC Toronto.

“If a strike proceeds as announced, starting at 00:01 on Monday 7 November, there will be no bus service. The trains will continue to run as planned.”

Negotiations with Metrolinx began in April and members have been working without a contract since June 1, according to the union.

“We have had enough: starting Monday, we will walk the picket lines until we reach an agreement that protects job security for our current and future members,” said Cormier.

But Cormier says the union “remains committed” to continuing negotiations with Metrolinx to reach an agreement.

The move to vote in favor of a strike comes after CUPE education workers quit their jobs on Friday. Both unions were bound by the wage freeze Bill 124, which limits wage increases to one percent, the ATU said.

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