Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Impasse in transit talks UPDATED

The Ottawa Sun is reporting that talks have broken off in negotiations between the city and the OC Transpo's Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279. CTV.ca is also reporting that the two sides have split, and they suggest that the strike is far from over. According to the Sun, "City spokesman Michael Fitzpatrick said union officials walked away from the table."

On the official website of the ATU, President Andre Cornellier made the following statement:

"The Union came to the table tonight [Tuesday] to settle this dispute, to put buses back on the road, but Larry O'Brien has made sure none of that will happen."

"Mayor O'Brien has ignored the expert mediator's recommendation, and the concerns of many City Councillors, he's tinkered around the edges of their last position, and not addressed a single part of the scheduling."

"The Mayor has ignored the original reasons for this scheduling system - he has decided it will be a long cold winter for Ottawa's transit users."
Mayor Larry O'Brien is scheduled to have a press conference at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday morning.

UPDATE: On his blog, O'Brien countered Cornellier's contention of the city being unflexible, and also mentioned that the City of Ottawa has made an appeal to the Federal Labour Minister Rona Ambrose to force union leadership to put the city's most recent offer to a vote in membership:
Last night the City of Ottawa provided a fair and reasonable offer to the ATU executive that included a 7.25% increase over three years, more sick days, a one-time payout to offset the City having full control of the scheduling rules and we also offered more benefits for the drivers.

The union executive has decided that this was not enough. They are asking for a wage increase of 9.25 % over the next three years.

[...]

Today the City sent a letter to Labour Minister Rona Ambrose asking her to intervene and permit a supervised vote of the members on our last offer – wage increase of 7.25%, more benefits, more sick days and some flexibility to the scheduling offer.

1 comment:

Mike said...

But ATU boss Andre Cornellier said on TV in December that the strike was not about money, and now he is asking for more money?

The man has no credibility with the public and has destroyed any support the public may have had for the drivers.