Third party blames both sides for Saskatoon Transit lockout

Watch above: Speculation: No end in sight for Saskatoon transit woes

SASKATOON – Both sides haven’t budged as the lockout at Saskatoon Transit entered its fourth day.

While the city and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 (ATU 615) are at a standstill with negotiations and blaming each other, a third party points the finger at both parties.

“What I see is two sides that are really unwilling to sit down and talk,” said Dr. Dionne Pohler, a University of Saskatchewan public policy assistant professor.

Pohler has watched the transit lockout unfold and says it’s not yet at a boiling point.

“You don’t see public outrage getting to the point where either side is really feeling a lot of pressure to actually come to an agreement or to settle this issue, so I don’t foresee that until that happens, that you’re going to see a lot of movement on either side,” said Pohler.

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Read more: Thousands seek alternative transportation due to Saskatoon Transit lockout

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City bus service came to a halt Saturday night, as with talks.

“The city essentially stated to us that they had nothing more to give and hence where we’re at today,” Jim Yakubowski, president of ATU 615, said on Sunday.

“From where we thought we were in December of last year to now, we’re farther apart not closer,” said Marno McInnes, the city’s human resources director.

Read more: Pension plan central issue in Saskatoon Transit lockout

A transit disruption was averted in 2011. However, one of the longest and largest civic strikes in Saskatchewan’s history, which included transit, took place in 1994. It lasted almost 10 weeks before 2,300 workers agreed to a new contract.

While Pohler doesn’t know how long this lockout will last, she said the relationship has been damaged.

“Both sides have the potential to be happy and get mostly what they want out of this but I think it really depends on their ability to change their approach on both sides I think is what’s necessary for both sides to get what they want,” said Pohler.

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Right now, Pohler thinks the city has the upper hand but if the lockout continues for weeks an outside authority may be asked to step in.

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