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Transit strike averted in Toronto

Last Updated Sun, 10 Apr 2005 19:10:07 EDT CBC News

TORONTO - A last-minute deal has been reached to avoid a strike by Toronto transit workers, which would have sent hundreds of thousands of people scrambling to find other transportation in the country’s largest city.

The strike was to have begun on Monday morning, but representatives for the Toronto Transit Commission and the transit union said late Sunday that they had reached a tentative deal.

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Toronto’s streetcars, as well as its buses and subways, will be running as usual on Monday after a strike was averted. (File photo)

Ontario’s Labour Ministry arranged the meeting between the two sides after negotiations broke off abruptly on Friday over wages, contracting out, work schedules and other issues.

“I want to announce to the people of Toronto that there will be full TTC service tomorrow morning,” Bob Kinnear, president of the Transit Workers Union, said at news conference after 5 p.m. local time.

Toronto Transit Commission chairman Howard Moscoe said it was the toughest collective agreement that he’s ever negotiated.

“I feel like a member of the bomb squad who half an hour ago was faced with a green wire and a red wire and thank God we cut the right one,” Moscow said.

“It was that tight.”

Toronto Mayor David Miller thanked both sides for resolving their differences, calling the transit system “the lifeblood of Toronto.”

Kinnear said most of the major breakthroughs were non-monetary in nature and wouldn’t cost the public a cent.

He said the agreement includes:

  • More regular schedules for maintenance workers.
  • Less harsh disciplinary procedures related to following transit schedules.
  • Changes to contracting-out procedures.

More than 8,000 transit union employees will vote on the tentative deal on Thursday.

The union announced plans to strike after rejecting a contract offer on Friday. The proposed deal included wage hikes of 2.75 per cent, three per cent and 3.2 per cent, and improvements to benefits and pensions.




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