Toronto Faces Monday of Disruption With Transit, School Strikes – Financial Post

Workers in Canada’s financial capital may face a difficult Monday commute as 2,200 transportation staff in the Toronto region appear set to go on strike. Schools are also in upheaval after education support workers walked out.

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Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News

Mathieu Dion

A GO Transit train enters Union Station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Verster said he believes the pandemic will reshape travel patterns for years, a challenge for Metrolinx, which has plans to spend about C$75 billion ($60.4 billion) over a decade on subways, light rail and other transit projects.
A GO Transit train enters Union Station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Verster said he believes the pandemic will reshape travel patterns for years, a challenge for Metrolinx, which has plans to spend about C$75 billion ($60.4 billion) over a decade on subways, light rail and other transit projects. Photo by Della Rollins /Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — Workers in Canada’s financial capital may face a difficult Monday commute as 2,200 transportation staff in the Toronto region appear set to go on strike. Schools are also in upheaval after education support workers walked out. 

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The Amalgamated Transit Union and Metrolinx, the agency that runs parts of the city’s public-transit network, were unable to reach an agreement as of Sunday at 5 p.m. Toronto time. Without a deal, drivers and other staff essential to the GO Bus service will be off the job on Monday.

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Metrolinx is insisting on the right to use contractors who can be paid lower wages and refuses to ensure experienced workers remain on the job, the union said in its most recent statement. A union representative did not reply to a request for comment Sunday. 

“We are disappointed that the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1587 has voted against the current offer and is instead planning to strike,” Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins said Sunday. Trains will operate as scheduled, she said, and commuters should give themselves extra time. 

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Many schools are also expected to be closed, with students moving to online learning, as education workers stay off the job for a second day.

Thousands of Ontario education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees started a walkout on Friday to protest a move by Premier Doug Ford’s government to impose a deal with wage increases that are well below the current rate of inflation. 

Read more: Canada Rate Pressure Grows With Wages Up 5% for Fifth Month

The provincial government’s four-year contract sees annual pay raises ranging from 1.5% to 2.5% for 55,000 workers — including education and administrative assistants and early childhood educators, among others. 

Ford introduced a bill that bans the workers from striking and invoked the notwithstanding clause, an extraordinary legal mechanism that governments can use in some circumstances to override Canada’s Charter of Rights. 

“It is an attack on one of the basic rights available, that of collective bargaining,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Friday. “The federal government is looking at all options.”

The bill includes fines of as much as C$4,000 ($2,955) per employee and C$500,000 for the union, each day of a banned walkout.