New Brunswick

Codiac Transpo lockout prompts heated exchange

Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc and the Amalgamated Transit Union's George Turple had a heated exchange on Monday night over the ongoing Codiac Transpo lockout.

RCMP officers ensured George Turple left the podium after his remarks

The ongoing Codiac Transpo lockout provoked a heated exchange between Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc and the Amalgamated Transit Union’s George Turple.

The city locked out about 80 bus workers on June 27 in an ongoing contract dispute. Wages remain as a key stumbling block in the lengthy lockout.

Several people made presentations about how the Codiac Transpo lockout was impacting their lives.

Presentations in front of Moncton council are only supposed to be five minutes long.

Turple, the local president of the transit union, was told he had to wrap up after his five-minute speech.

"I'm going to continue on whether you shut the mic off or not dear. I think this is a very serious situation that we have in our city and I believe that you could afford me the courtesy a couple of extra minutes to let me finish," he said on Monday night.

Turple was allowed to finish his remarks to city council.

The city’s mayor made some comments on the situation and Turple came back to the microphone, trying to rebut LeBlanc.

The mayor told the union leader that he had already been given a chance to speak and he would not turn on the microphone again.

Two RCMP officers stood close to the podium and watched the situation.

"Gentlemen, Mr. Turple can leave on his own, he doesn't have to be escorted out," he said.

Turple did leave and LeBlanc told the council meeting that he was disappointed by what happened.

"We have always tried to treat people with respect and dignity here in council," he said.

The city is offering to pay Codiac Transpo drivers $52,000 a year by 2017, but the union is holding out in hopes of being paid $60,000 per year by 2018.

Both sides have already agreed to annual pay hikes that would bring the bus drivers' salaries to $51,000 a year by 2017, up from $44,000.

The union’s demand for a $60,000 salary in 2018 has been described by city manager Jacques Dubé as a "wage bomb."

The workers have been without a contract since 2010.

Codiac Transpo services Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe.