New Moncton council to tackle Codiac Transpo dispute
Moncton’s new city council is being sworn in Monday night and one of the first items on its agenda will likely be the ongoing contract dispute at Codiac Transpo.
"We need to get in front of our new council and discuss the situation like I said and figure out what our go forward strategy is," said Paul Thomson, the city’s director of communications.
The company and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1290 have been locked in a contract fight for about six weeks and no new talks are scheduled.
Meanwhile, the dispute is leading to the cancellation of bus routes.
"We know that something has to happen here," said Thomson.
"This is not sustainable, the way it's going now and something has to give."
George Turple, the president of the local union, also said he hopes the new council will help spur on a resolution.
"For the city to come back to the table and bargain in good faith, which they have not done, and that's what it's going to take," he said.
The union has already voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike and could walk off the job at any time, or the city could lock the workers out.
But neither has side has done anything.
Seven drivers and three mechanics — more than 10 per cent of the workforce — have quit or retired, leading to staffing problems and service interruptions.
Turple said the drivers have been working a lot of overtime to try to cover all the routes, but the company has warned passengers the level of service will likely get worse.
The union wants $55,000 a year for its drivers.
The city’s latest offer, which was rejected by the union, would've brought a bus driver’s annual salary to $51,000 in 2015.
Codiac Transpo operates in Moncton, Dieppe, Riverview and Lakeside.
The unionized workers have been without a contract since June 2010.