With Fredericton Transit workers set to take a strike vote on Sunday, Mayor Brad Woodside is expressing hope a new deal can be reached without either the city or the union needing to take job action, such as a lockout or strike.
The main issue in the dispute is wages as Fredericton Transit drivers are paid less than their counterparts in Moncton and Saint John.
Fredericton drivers make $22 an hour, which is $2.44 an hour less than drivers for Codiac Transpo and about $4 an hour less than drivers in Saint John.
Fredericton's final offer to the drivers is a 1.75 per cent increase in each of the first three years of a new contract and 2.5 per cent annual increases in each of the final two years of a five-year deal.
"We believe that the offer being made to our transit workers is a good one," said Woodside in a statement.
"It is above current and projected inflation and it would not be a responsible use of taxpayers' money to offer more."
The city's offer would also increase the employees biweekly benefits allowance by $25, bringing it to $200.
'I am hopeful that neither side will have to take job action in this matter.' - Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside
The offer contains the same percentage increases that were accepted by the city's outside workers and inside workers in 2015.
The bus drivers, inside workers and outside workers are all represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, with the transit workers belonging to Local 1783.
"We value the work done by our transit workers and have bargained in good faith," said Woodside.
"I am hopeful that neither side will have to take job action in this matter."
If the transit workers reject the city's offer in Sunday's vote, it would put them in a legal strike position. Results of the vote will be known Monday, said the union.
In 2012, the City of Moncton locked out its transit workers. It was five months before buses were back on the street.