HRM released the following statement this afternoon:
(Friday, Feb. 24, 2012) – ATU is prolonging grief for everyone who relies on public buses and ferries by rejecting HRM’s final offer to striking Metro Transit workers, said Mayor Peter Kelly.
“We gave the union a good offer worth $14 million within a deal that will also save HRM $8 million over five years,” said Mayor Kelly. “We cannot afford to take more from the wallets of taxpayers, and that’s what is going to happen if we let ATU keep its current scheduling system.”
On Thursday, Council approved a final offer to members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 508. Under the terms of the final offer union members would receive:
● A five-year collective agreement that includes rostering and wage restructuring (offsets), with provisions that will let the union participate in how rostering would be established
● A first-year $ 1,500 lump sum payment to all ATU employees
● Wage increases of 2.25% in each of the subsequent four years
While the total wage package was worth approximately $14 million over five years, the proposal also included approximately $8 million in cost containment measures including overtime savings with the move to a rostered scheduling system, and a wage step model for new hires.
“We worked hard to come up with a package that is affordable to taxpayers, supports efficient transit and is fair to our employees,” said Metro Transit Director Eddie Robar. “We want our employees back to work doing what they do best and we feel we’ve made significant strides to address ATU’s issues.”
“By voting no, ATU has decided to keep our buses parked and our ferries docked, and the public is being held ransom,” said Mayor Kelly. “Enough is enough. Transit workers need to accept our fair offer to get riders back onboard.”
More information will be provided through regular communications channels, including halifax.ca/metrotransit; on twitter @hfxtransit; through regular transit ticket retail outlets; and media once details can be confirmed regarding the return to full transit operations and plans to honour previously purchased transit passes.
Metro Transit is the primary transportation service provider in HRM and the largest transit system in Atlantic Canada, comprised of over 300 buses and three ferries. In addition to its conventional fixed route system with 61 routes, including the premium MetroLink and MetroX services, it operates three Community Transit routes, the harbour ferry service and the door-to-door Access-A-Bus service for persons with disabilities.