Employees with Go Bus para-transit services in St. John’s have voted to take strike action if their contract dispute with the private company that runs the service isn’t settled.
CUPE National Representative Ed White says, “Local 5120 members voted to withdraw their services in the event they can’t reach a negotiated agreement, but are fully aware of the fact that the last thing they want to do is deprive Go Bus users of this critically important service.”
“At the same time,” says White, “this employer has to realize that they can’t expect these drivers and other employees to work for significantly lower wages and benefits than other transit workers.”
White says there are several outstanding issues in the dispute, including:
- Wages. The employer is offering a wage freeze in year one and a mere .25 cents an hour increase in years 2, 3 and 4 of a 4-year contract;
- The company is also proposing that new hires would be paid $1/hr less than current employees and would never catch up;
The company is also seeking an agreement that would go beyond the expiry date of their contract with the City.
White says the union is proposing a two-year agreement and would like to negotiate the next contract prior to MVT entering into a new contract with the City.
MVT Canadian Bus Inc. runs the para-transit service known as St. John’s Go Bus to clients in St. John’s and other areas currently serviced by Metro Bus. There are 35 employees in CUPE Local 5120, 17 of which are full-time. White says the union is prepared to meet with the employer in an attempt to reach a collective agreement prior to taking any strike action.