It was announced on Thursday evening that Grand River Transit employees, including GRT operators, dispatchers, mechanics and service attendances, would officially be going on strike on Monday, April 3 at 5:00 a.m. On Sunday, it was announced that a tentative agreement was reached with the Region of Waterloo and operations would commence as usual on Monday.
According to The Waterloo Record, Unifor Local 4304, which includes 644 bus drivers, services attendants and various skilled workers, originally rejected an agreement with the Region of Waterloo.
As claimed by CBC News Kitchener-Waterloo, Unifor Local 4304 have been without a contract since the end of last year and negotiation for a new contract began in December.
“I’m surprised and disappointed at this outcome,” Mike Murray, chief administrative officer for the Region of Waterloo, said in a statement released by GRT. “We negotiated an agreement in good faith that the Unifor bargaining committee unanimously recommended that their members accept. We are disappointed that they have rejected it.”
GRT, BusPlus Service, MobilityPlus and bus terminal are services were going to be affected by the labour disruption.
According to The Record, Charles Street Terminal and Ainslie Street Transit Terminal were going to be closed, but the Greyhound would continue to operate and pick up passengers.
“The Region remains prepared to meet with the Union to get the buses back on the road. We appreciate the public’s cooperation and patience at this time,” read the statement.
Unifor Local 4304 announced on Sunday that workers represented by the Unifor at the Grand River Transit Authority have reached a tentative agreement with the Region of Waterloo, officially averting a strike that was set to begin in Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge on the morning of Monday, April 3.
“After intense negotiations this weekend, the union is pleased to have reached a mutual agreement with the employer to address Unifor’s main concerns, and will keep our drivers on the road serving the people of Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge,” Tim Mitchell, Unifor National representative, said in an official statement on Unifor’s website.
According to Unifor, transit services would continue to operate on Monday morning and pending ratification votes would also continue throughout the day. A new deadline for the strike was been set for Wednesday, April 5 at 5:00 a.m.
As of Monday night, members of Unifor Local 4304 voted in favour of a new contract with the Region of Waterloo, averting any potential strike. The new contract includes wage increases of 1.5 per cent for its first year, 1.75 per cent for the second year and two per cent for the third year, as reported by CTV Kitchener.
This article was updated on April 2 and April 5.