March 31, 2017
No regional buses will be running in Waterloo Region beginning at 5 a.m. Monday.
Grand River Transit operators, dispatchers, fleet mechanics and service attendants will officially be on strike then, as their union, Unifor Local 4304 did not ratify the terms of a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.
The two sides had negotiated an agreement, earlier in March, which the region said it thought was fair to employees and taxpayers. It included a wage increase of six per cent over three years, as well as a number of adjustments to employee benefits.
The Unifor bargaining committee unanimously recommended their members accept, but they did not.
“When workers vote to strike over working conditions, you know that the situation is toxic,” said Tim Mitchell, Unifor National Representative in a statement. “It’s a very serious issue that can’t be resolved until GRT takes our members’ concerns seriously.”
Services affected include GRT buses, BusPlus Service and MobilityPlus Services.
The region said every effort will be made to provide transportation only for pre-scheduled dialysis trips. All other scheduled trips — even medical — will be cancelled. The Taxiscrip program and Kiwanis Transit are both unaffected.
The transit terminals on Charles and Ainslie streets will be closed. Greyhound will maintain regular pick and drop off service, but at the corner of Queen and Weber streets. Go bus and Coach Canada in Cambridge will pick passengers up at the GRT stop on Ainslie and Dickson Streets. Bus operators will be selling fares on their buses.
GRT tickets have no expiry dates and can be used when service resumes. Depending on the length of the service disruption, GRT will make special announcements regarding GRT passes.