New Brunswick

Acadian Lines contract negotiations continue

Negotiations continued for a second day Sunday between Acadian Coach Lines and its 59 lockedout workers in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Negotiations continued for a second day Sunday between Acadian Coach Lines and its 59 lockedout workers in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Both sides met Saturday in Moncton for the first time since Nov. 25, beginning what Glen Carr, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1229, called "marathon talks'' with the help of a federally appointed mediator.

Carr wasn't commenting on what, if any progress, was made, but said the fact that the two sides are meeting is a step forward.

"We're still in negotiations and the union's prepared to stay here night and day until we get some sort of resolution," he said.

There has been no inter-city bus service in New Brunswick since the work stoppage began. As well, there has been no bus service between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The union had asked the company in mid-December to agree to enter into binding interest arbitration, which it refused.

Binding interest arbitration is when the two sides present their positions, and the arbitrator picks one.

According to the company, Acadian Lines lost around $2 million running buses in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island last year.

Previous contract negotiations have failed to produce a deal. Talks had previously broken down in October and workers voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action.

At that time, Acadian Lines was offering a contract that offered no pay increase over the next five years, according to the union.

The union wants at least a cost-of-living increase.

The company presented a last-minute contract offer to the union on Nov. 25. Workers voted 88 per cent against the deal.

Acadian Lines still runs in Nova Scotia because the company's employees in that province are part of a different union.

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