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City may face uphill battle defending transit lockout: expert

Saskatoon’s transit lockout is past the three week mark with both sides far apart from reaching a deal. Vytai Brannan / Global News

SASKATOON – Saskatoon’s transit lockout is past the three week mark with both sides far apart from reaching a deal.

University of Saskatchewan professor and union law expert Keir Vallance said the city may be facing an uphill battle this coming week when it defends the legality of the lockout before the province’s labour relations board.

A case was before the board about an unfair labour practice prior to the lockout.

READ MORE: Transit union filing unfair labour practice application against city

Since the matter was outstanding when the city issued a lockout, the union argues the work stoppage is illegal.

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A ruling is expected on Tuesday and Vallance says no matter what the outcome is, transit riders could be left without bus service next week.

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“Regardless of what the board finds on Tuesday, we may still have a labour dispute on our hands. On the one hand, if the board says the lockout is legal, then we’ll still have a lockout,” said Keir Vallance, U of S College of Law assistance professor.

“If the board says the lockout is illegal, the city could just re-issue a lockout notice, or on the other hand, the union could be in a legal strike position and we could be facing a strike.”

The transit union posted a note on their twitter page, asking residents to call city councillors or the mayor and ask them to end the lockout.

FULL COVERAGE: Saskatoon Transit lockout

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