Settlement deal averts transit strike in Toronto

Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:16pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Transit Commission and its main workers union settled on Sunday a tentative agreement averting a strike in the commuting system of Canada's largest city.

Almost two hours after the deadline set by the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, the deal was announced by the union's president Bob Kinnear.

The three-year deal has to be ratified by all parties, but Kinnear said he would recommend union members approve it. The Amalgamated Transit Union represents nearly 9,000 employees.

"The TTC believes the settlement is a fair and reasonable one for its workers and good for the people of Toronto," the commission said in a statement.

Commuters spent the weekend preparing for a very difficult Monday. The TTC carries more than 1.5 million passengers every weekday and a strike would have caused many problems for workers in Toronto.

On Friday evening talks between TTC and the union were break down and the strike was almost certain.

"There have been many minutes when we did not believe we were going to reach a settlement. ... Even as late as this afternoon there were times when we did not believe we were going to reach an agreement, but we have," Kinnear said.

The union has been in a legal position to strike since April 1.

The TTC staged a one-day illegal walkout in May 2006, stranding commuters and costing the TTC around C$3 million ($3 million) in lost revenues.

The last legal walkout by TTC workers was in 1999 and lasted two days before the province legislated the union back to work.

(Reporting by Renato Andrade, editing by Todd Eastham