Transit strike expected to hit Toronto on Monday

Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:41pm EDT
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By John McCrank

TORONTO (Reuters) - Commuters in Canada's biggest city will likely face a long, slow trip to work on Monday morning, as a strike by members of Toronto's main transit union looks virtually certain, a source close to the contract talks said on Friday.

The person, who asked not to be identified, said talks between the Amalgamated Transit Union and the Toronto Transit Commission had broken down.

"The TTC, as early as this morning, has told the union there is no more," the source said.

"They are not putting anything on the table and this follows the union's press conference where they said if there is not an acceptable offer by Sunday at 4 p.m., there will be a strike on Monday morning. So, it looks bad."

The TTC carries more than 1.5 million passengers every weekday.

The Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, which represents nearly 9,000 TTC employees, said the main issues are benefits and compensation.

It said its workers have a substandard benefits package compared with Toronto city workers, and that TTC employees are paid less than those at other transit authorities in smaller cities surrounding Toronto.

The union source said the top mediator in the province, Reg Pearson, who has been involved in negotiations between the TTC and its union in the past, has been called in to help get the two sides talking again.   Continued...