Winnipeg Transit faces long recovery from labour dispute

There should be fewer delays on Monday for Winnipeggers who rely on public transit, but it could take months for the service to fully recover from the labour dispute.
Winnipeg Transit passengers should face fewer delays on Monday. (CBC)

There should be fewer delays on Monday for Winnipeggers who rely on public transit, but it could take months for the service to fully recover from the labour dispute.

"It's going to be a while. Once they start doing the repairs and assessing things we'll have a better idea of the timeline, but it's definitely going to take a while, no doubt about it," said John Callahan, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505.

Over the weekend, the City of Winnipeg and the Amalgamated Transit Union reached a tentative deal on their nearly month-long labour dispute.

On April 27, unionized workers — bus operators and maintenance staff — began refusing to work voluntary overtime. As a result, many buses were left lame due to mechanical issues, triggering widespread delays.

Normally, there are 40 to 50 buses out of service, awaiting repairs of some sort. As of Monday morning, the total number was 122.

Dave Wardrop, head of Winnipeg Transit, said mechanics got back to work this weekend on the backlog.

"We expect that we'll see folks getting back to doing what we all really want to do," he said. "I know that's what our employees want; we know that's what the union wants.

"We want to get back to the business of really being the best transit service in Canada."

There are no details on the tentative deal worked out between the two sides.

Union members will vote on ratifying the proposed contract in the coming weeks. No date has been set yet.


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