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Grand River Transit employees union reach tentative agreement with region

The main entrance to Grand River Transit's Charles Street Transit Terminal in Kitchener. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

On Tuesday night, Waterloo Region announced it has come to terms on a new agreement with the union representing striking Grand River Transit (GRT) workers.

“Our members will vote on ratification of the new agreement on Thursday, January 30th,” Unifor Local 4304 announced on Twitter.

READ MORE: Grand River Transit talks to resume Tuesday in bid to end strike

The Region issued a release saying that council will vote on whether to ratify shortly after union members cast their decision on the agreement.

A spokesperson for the region says the buses will not return to the road until the agreement is ratified by both sides.

This will be the second agreement that has been reached between the two sides as union members reject an initial tentative deal on Jan. 19.

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Two days later, GRT drivers, mechanics, vehicle service attendants and dispatchers walked off the job.

Minutes after the strike got underway, the region released some details of that rejected agreement.

READ MORE: All you need to know about Grand River Transit bus strike

It said the proposed deal included a six per cent wage increase over three years for bus operators, dispatchers and service attendants as mechanics would see a 15 per cent increase over three years.

Later in the day, the Region noted that the agreement included installing safety barriers on 278 buses over three years at a cost of $1.7 million.

In a statement released Monday, the union said, “throughout the negotiations, the bargaining committee has reflected member’s demands to the employer, including improvements on driver safety, and end to heavy-handed, excessive discipline and unfettered use of video surveillance, and wages.”

In a release late Monday night, Unifor announced that it would release details of the agreement after it was ratified.

“Transit workers appreciate the support that they have received from the public during this time,” Jewell stated. “We look forward to settling this dispute in order to return to serving the people of Waterloo Region.”

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