Saskatoon Transit union serves 48-hour strike notice

Saskatoon bus drivers could strike as early as 5 p.m. CST on Sunday.

Saskatoon bus drivers could strike as early as 5 p.m. CST on Sunday

Saskatoon Transit workers have been without a contract since 2012. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

The union representing Saskatoon bus drivers has served 48-hour strike notice.

The notice comes the day after meetings where members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 gave its executive the power to deliver a notice of job action to the employer. 

Notice was given at 4:35 p.m. CST Friday after the union had been meeting with the city throughout the week to try and work out a new collective bargaining agreement, which expired in 2012.

A strike could begin as early as 5 p.m. Sunday. In its notice to the city, the union said strike actions could include anything from slowdowns to overtime bans, not wearing uniforms, rotating strikes, or a complete work stoppage.

Jim Yakubowski, the president of the local chapter of the union, said the intention wouldn't be to start with full removal of service.

"We have some other tentative plans in place in the event we'd have to use them," Yakubowski said, though he wouldn't elaborate on what those plans are.

At a rally last weekend in support of drivers, Yakubowski said the biggest division for the two sides continues to be wages and pension.

On Friday night, Yakubowski admitted that negotiations this week have brought improvements in terms of wages. However, the same hasn't been accomplished when it comes to the pension plan.

The city maintains it has offered the transit union the same four-year wage package and pension package it offered to the other unions and associations in the City's General Pension Plan. Agreements have been reached with eight other unions. The transit union is the only union yet to accept and ratify an agreement.

"We are disappointed to receive strike notice since we have been bargaining all week and have made significant progress," Marno McInnes, director of human resources with the city, said in a release. "We have narrowed the gap between the parties and just provided the Transit union with another offer."

Speaking with CBC News, McInnes said that the notice was especially surprising as the city had tabled an offer to the union at 3 p.m. — just a short time before the union's noticed was presented.

​Both the city and the union have said they are willing to continue negotiations to try and avoid job action taking place.