There may be a breakthrough in the lengthy labour dispute between Moncton and its transit workers.

The union representing locked out Codiac Transpo employees says its members will vote on a contract offer that had previously been rejected.

At Monday night’s city council meeting, George Turple, the union president, told the city the membership will accept a deal that was previously rejected.

"What I'm prepared to do today is to call a meeting with my membership and recommend to them they accept a 2.75 per cent increase over the next five years," he said.

In recent negotiation attempts, the union asked for 4.3 per cent wage increase over five years.

"We don’t see this as a concession because, as I just said, there was a lot of language changes and clawbacks that the city were looking for that we’ve been able to iron out," Turple said. "And in saying that, the majority has decided they could live with the 2.75 based on the language changes we were able to negotiate."

The new language includes agreements on health benefits, and part time versus full time employment.

No guarantees

The mayor said he was surprised by the union’s move, and there are no guarantees the city will accept this deal, which was originally offered eight months ago.

"I would say that it’s a positive move by the union," said George LeBlanc. "At long last they have made a move which I think brings us closer together."

Both sides will discuss the next steps at the negotiating table. The city said that will happen a week from now, on Tuesday, but the union is hopeful talks will resume sooner.

Turple said bus riders have suffered enough. Some riders spoke at Monday's council meeting, pleading for a resolution.

Recently, the city announced it would consider alternative transportation to help people get around Moncton during the winter months.

The lockout began June 27, and includes 90 Codiac Transpo employees.