York Region says it will not intervene in YRT strike
York Region will not intervene in the labour dispute that has halted much of the region’s public transit for more than a month.
At a council meeting today, the board decided it would not go to the province and seek back-to-work legislation that would mandate York Region Transit workers back on the job.
Council members have been calling on the unions and employers involved in the York Region Transit labour dispute to bring an end to the strike, which began when bus drivers and mechanics walked off the job Oct. 24.
“Neither back to work legislation or arbitration is an acceptable answer to a refusal to negotiate,” York Region chairman and CEO Bill Fisch told reporters. “The answer and the most reasonable way for this to end is for the parties to participate in meaningful negotiations.”
The strike has halted service on about 60 per cent of YRT’s routes, angering riders who rely on public transit to get around.
The main sticking point has been pay. YRT bus drivers earn an average of $20 per hour, and they want to be paid the same as their counterparts in Toronto, Hamilton, Brampton and Mississauga, where drivers are paid an average of $29.
“If York region intervenes the reality of the unions current wage demands would mean a $26 increase for every York Region taxpayer or it would mean an additional 40 cent fare hike for York Region Transit riders,” Fisch told reporters. “We are not prepared to ask taxpayers to do that nor should we have to.”