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Region, Unifor to meet throughout weekend in hopes avoiding Grand River Transit strike

A Grand River Transit bus travelling eastbound on King Street West beside the Grand River Hospital ION LRT station in Kitchener.
A Grand River Transit bus travelling eastbound on King Street West beside the Grand River Hospital ION LRT station in Kitchener. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

The union representing Grand River Transit workers says it has agreed to work through the weekend with Waterloo region in an attempt to reach a deal ahead of its strike deadline.

“Negotiations are ongoing and we are bargaining through the weekend including Monday,” Unifor Local 4304 President Tim Jewell told Global News through email.

“If no deal is reached by the strike mandate, then there will be a strike.”

READ MORE: Grand River Transit bus drivers in position to strike next Tuesday, Region of Waterloo says

The two sides have been in negotiations on reaching a new contract since October.

“Although negotiations have been challenging, our goal continues to be to negotiate a collective agreement with UNIFOR 4304,” Region of Waterloo CAO Mike Murray said in a statement.

The region announced earlier in the week that the union would be in a position to strike at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday.

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If there is a strike, the region said, service will be disrupted on conventional buses as well as Bus Plus and MobilityPLUS services.

READ MORE: Kilt ban for bus driver was not discriminatory, Ontario rights tribunal rules

According to the region, “every effort will be made to provide transportation for pre-scheduled dialysis trips. MobilityPLUS customers can continue to use TaxiScrip. Services provided by Kiwanis Transit.”

Ion trains will continue to run, although if there are any service disruptions, there will be no shuttle buses.

The region suggests calling the GRT Information Line at 519-585-7555 (Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TTY): 519-585-7796) for information on the status of transit services.

ION LRT system set to launch on June 21
ION LRT system set to launch on June 21