ON: No Progress in GO Bus Negotiations; October 24 Strike Deadline Looming

TORONTO, Oct. 17, 2011 /CNW/ - Negotiations between Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1587 and Metrolinx-run GO Transit Bus services are stalled. If no agreement is reached by midnight this Sunday, workers will be on strike for the first time ever as of next Monday morning.

"It is difficult to negotiate with a stone wall," says Ray Doyle, president of Local 1587. "No wage offer beyond a zero per cent increase has been forthcoming from the company, so it is difficult to see how this is going to be resolved."

"The cost of living has gone up, management salaries have gone up, but the frontline workers are apparently entitled to nothing. And they wonder why labour relations are worsening," he says.

Metrolinx was strongly reprimanded by the Ontario Labour Relations Board recently for trying to back out of an agreement with the union signed last March stipulating that all GO Bus bargaining unit members were entitled to strike. The government-run agency made an illicit end run around the law governing collective bargaining in order to avoid a GO Bus strike during the provincial election, which would have been potentially embarrassing to the McGuinty Liberal government.

"Metrolinx has shown it has no respect for the law but there is no way now it can avoid a strike unless it shows respect for its employees and delivers a fair offer before next Monday," says Doyle.

Local 1587 represents 1530 GO Transit Bus workers. Go Buses carry about 1.3 million passengers a year to and from Toronto and numerous outlying municipalities, such as Peterboro, Kitchener, Niagara Falls, Barrie and many others.

CONTACT: Ray Doyle, 416-986-4103