The possibility that 300 Greyhound Canada bus drivers and mechanics in Ontario and Quebec would walk off the job Sunday night has been averted, CBC News has learned.
Muwafaq Al-Khafajy, a spokesperson for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1415, told CBC News on Sunday that the union has signed a tentative two-year agreement deal with the company subject to ratification, and that a strike will not happen.
A vote will take place in the next two weeks, Al-Khafajy said.
The strike would have seen bus service halted across much of southern Ontario — including in Windsor, London, Toronto and Ottawa — as well as on some routes around Montreal. Sudbury would not have been affected because employees based there are members of a separate union.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1415 members previously unanimously rejected terms that included a five per cent wage cut and decreases in health and welfare benefits, according to Muwafaq Al-Khafajy, union spokesperson.
There was also disagreement about what Al-Khafajy said was unpaid work, as drivers argue they aren't compensated fairly for time spent at border crossings, as an example.
He added that employees have been told by Greyhound senior management that the decrease to wages was in part to make up for financial losses the bus line has experienced in recent years.
A Greyhound spokesperson declined to discuss the details of the negotiations, but there are signs the company is manoeuvring to cope with changes in ridership. It recently applied to cut services in northern B.C., where ridership has decreased by half since 2010.
Contract expired in June
The contract for the drivers and mechanics expired in June.
Al-Khafajy said his members were willing to negotiate, but that Greyhound Canada put off talks until the last several weeks and has refused to reconsider the proposed wage cuts.
Negotiators for the company and union met Sunday morning at a hotel near Toronto's Pearson International Airport, and talks took place through the day.