November 22, 2016 12:41 pm

Both sides stand firm in Saskatoon Transit contract dispute

The two sides in the Saskatoon Transit contract dispute have issued statements regarding their issues over the pension plan.

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Both sides in the Saskatoon Transit contract dispute remain firmly entrenched in their respective positions over pension.

Members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 615 began a work to rule campaign and started to refuse overtime on Nov. 12.

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READ MORE: Saskatoon Transit union job action the latest in city’s history of labour disputes

Transit officials said the job action has caused cancellations of some routes and delays and overcrowding on other routes.

Between five and eight per cent of transit service is currently not being delivered.

The City of Saskatoon and ATU Local 615 both issued statements on Monday regarding their respective stances over the pension plan.

City officials said transit employees will retain “an excellent defined pension plan” which will not change if employees accept the current offer, which they said is the same plan accepted by eight other city unions.

“If the Transit union wants more, there are only two sources where dollars would have to come from: taxpayers and bus riders, both of whom already pay their fair share,” Catherine Gryba, the city’s general manager of corporate performance, said in a release.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Transit thins busy routes in response to ATU Local 615 job action

The city’s governance and priorities committee unanimously confirmed the current wage and benefits offer to the union at a meeting on Monday.

In a statement to members, ATU Local 615 officials said they have presented what they call “a fair and equitable proposal” to break the deadlock.

The union is calling on the city to accept a ruling from an arbitration panel on whether the city had the right to make changes to the pension without consent of the union.

The panel heard arguments in April 2016 and both sides are waiting for a decision.

READ MORE: City holds firm in contract dispute with Saskatoon Transit workers

ATU officials said they are willing to accept the decision and sign the city’s offer if the panel rules in favour of the city.

They are asking the city to accept the decision if the ruling is in favour of the union.

“If the city can resolve this four year dispute by simply adhering to the legal decision of the arbitration panel, then why the deadlock?” the union questioned in the statement on its website.

Transit workers have been without a contract since December 2012.

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