Jan 9, 2009

Ottawa transit strikes continues

Due to a transit strike,  bus service stopped in Ottawa on December 10th, 2008. The majority of transit workers represented by  the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 voted to go on strike. Since the original strike vote, city council made an other offer. The union decided not to take it back to the members for another vote.

In Ottawa the transit workers come under a different set of labour laws than Toronto transit workers. TTC employees are governed by the Ontario Labour Board while in Ottawa the transit workers come under the Federal Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB)). The reason for this is because  OC Transpo operates service inter-provincial. Bus run between Ontario and Quebec.

At the request of city council, a vote was forced on the union members by Federal Labour Minister Rona Ambrose, who stepped in to try and end the strike. This vote was held on Thursday January 8, 2009 and it was conducted by the CIRB. Of 2,353 eligible voters, 1,516 or 64.4% voted no. 330 workers did not cast a ballot The strike continues.

What's next? The city could change negotiating tactics to get the buses moving. In this case negotiations might not be in the city's plans. One indication of that is the CIRB notice to the pubic on the government web page. There is suggestion that the government will force an end to the strike.

Section 87.4(1) of the Canada Labour Code provides that: "During a strike or lockout not prohibited by this Part, the employer, the trade union and the employees in the bargaining unit must continue the supply of services, operation of facilities or production of goods to the extent necessary to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public."

1 comment:

Raymond R. said...

I would like the CIRB to insist that certain routes which crosses the city from east to west, operate on a limited schedule during the strike. That would get people "to and from" work while the city and the union battle out the contract.