Listening to Communities
Moore Calls for Immediate Settlement of ATU Contract
Recently, Saskatoon released a new Transit Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) which describes ambitious plans to expand service, introduce Bus Rapid Transit, and grow ridership from its current level of 5%. The cornerstone of delivering this service are the people working in Transit, the 400 staff that ensure bus service is available 365 days a year.
“The workers operating Saskatoon Transit Services have been without a contract since late 2012,” says Kelley Moore, mayoral candidate for the October 26 municipal election. “It’s time this contract was settled.”
Almost two years ago, the City locked out 330 workers, a move that ended up being ruled illegal by courts. “This action cost the taxpayers over $650,000”, says Moore. “It also caused harm to the reputation of transit services in Saskatoon by lowering ridership and people’s confidence in City Hall.”
The city also spent an estimated additional $1,000,000 reimbursing riders who lost use of transit, followed by offering a month of free transit rides.
“It’s hard to imagine a worse handling of this labour dispute”, says Moore. “Not only has it lowered transit worker morale and deprived them of much needed cost of living increases, it continues to expose transit users to uncertainty about the service.”
Labour disruption would be devastating to people who rely on it: employees, students, newcomers, seniors and those without vehicles. And all at a time when we’re supposed to be planning for a better transit system.
The mayor has stated that this four-year dispute is not a political issue. “This lack of action is an abdication of responsibility”, says Moore. “Sound leadership ensures that matters of importance are dealt with promptly.”
An employer needs to treat all its employees fairly. “This requires a commitment to dispute resolution within a reasonable timeframe”, says Moore. “As mayor, I will value transit and make it a priority to ensure the dispute is resolved fairly and quickly. We need to rebuild our relationship and morale with Saskatoon Transit Service so together we can build public confidence in our transit system.”
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