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

As of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1587 will go on strike if the union can't reach 'some sort of resolution' over the weekend, officials say. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
As of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1587 will go on strike if the union can't reach 'some sort of resolution' over the weekend, officials say. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

The union representing Metrolinx's GO Transit bus drivers and other workers says it will be moving ahead with a strike on Monday unless a deal can be reached with the provincial transit agency over the weekend.

President Rob Cormier of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587 says its 2,200 or so members have voted 81 per cent in favour of turning down Metrolinx's offer.

Cormier said the union's key issues include job security and job safety relating to hiring contract workers from outside companies.

"Our members have made it utterly clear. We will not accept a deal unless it addresses our primary concern, which is contracting out," Cormier said in a news release Friday.

"These basic protections against contracting out are the norm at every other transit agency in our region to ensure that experienced, workers are on the job to ensure the safety of the buses."

As of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, the union will go into strike action if it can't reach "some sort of resolution" with Metrolinx over the weekend, he said. Station attendants, bus operators, maintenance workers and transit safety officers are among those taking part in the strike.

A Metrolinx spokesperson said the crown corporation is "disappointed" with the union's move to reject its current offer.

"We will be working throughout the weekend to get an agreement and remain open to discussing ways forward with our ATU employees," Anne Marie Aikins said in a statement to CBC Toronto.

"If a strike does proceed as announced, effective 12:01am on Monday, November 7th, there will be no bus service. Trains will continue to operate as scheduled."

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 continue negotiations with Metrolinx to reach a deal.

The move to vote in favour of a strike comes after CUPE education workers walked off the job Friday. Both unions have been constrained by the Bill 124 wage freeze, which caps compensation increases at one per cent, the ATU said.