Nova Scotia

Bus lockout making shipping Christmas gifts tough

People say the lockout at Acadian Lines is affecting how they send Christmas gifts.

People say the lockout at Acadian Coach Lines is affecting how they send Christmas gifts.

Jane Nobel went down to the Acadian Lines terminal in Halifax on Saturday with a box full of Christmas presents to ship to Ontario.

This is one of the busiest weekends for shipping, and many people accustomed to sending gifts by bus haven't been able to do so since Acadian Lines locked out nearly 60 workers in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island on Dec. 2.

Glen Carr, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union local 1229, said packages can only go as far as Amherst.

"If they don't go back to the table soon and settle this dispute, I mean, people trying to move their packages across New Brunswick — it's going to be bad for those customers," Carr said.

"They are going to make alternate arrangements, courier services or trucking services."

Union wants cost-of-living wage increase

The Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents Acadian Lines drivers, mechanics and some counter staff in New Brunswick and P.E.I., says the employer has offered a one per cent annual wage increase but it wants more flexibility in assigning drivers to routes.

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

"I talked to a guy that had to go take his banked-hour days off — they told him that they couldn't pay him out, so he had to take the time off instead," Carr said.

For 11 months, the union has been in contract negotiations with no results.

The union voted 88 per cent to reject a contract offer. Talks between the two sides have been at a standstill since Dec. 3.

Acadian Lines buses are still running in Nova Scotia because the company's employees are part of a different union.

Shipping companies

Canada Post told CBC News it has not yet seen a spike in shipping because of the lockout.

Carla Redmen of Trius Transit, which runs a shuttle from P.E.I. to Halifax, said her company expects an influx.

"Probably next week, because it depends on what happens to them," Redmen said.

Carr said the lockout will result in lost revenue for the company during one of its busiest seasons.

"I saw a dispatch sheet the other day from Nova Scotia, and their numbers are way down," Carr said.

Back at the Acadian Lines terminal, Nobel said she isn't sure what she'll do about her package.

"It weighs a ton," Nobel said. "It will cost a fortune to get it there by Friday."