Both sides in transit strike to meet Monday morning
Published Sunday, January 25, 2009 4:44PM EST
City of Ottawa negotiators, armed with a fresh mandate from council, will meet Monday morning with the transit union and a federal mediator in hopes of restarting negotiations to end the 47-day OC Transpo strike.
Randy Graham, the vice-president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279, will meet with city staff and the mediator at 10 a.m.
Mayor Larry O'Brien offered few details Saturday night on council's new instructions for negotiators, aside from the need for a safe scheduling system for drivers.
"Any kind of solution we find to the strike will have to include working to the safety guidelines as defined by the federal government which means, on average, no more than 14 hours a day, eight hours rest between shifts, and at least one day off in every two week period," O'Brien said after the special, closed-door session at City Hall.
The union's proposal maintains that scheduling remain under their control, the same position they held when informal negotiations broke off on Friday.
"We are completely dedicated to trying to find a fair, reasonable, and responsible solution to this strike," O'Brien said Sunday at a charity event, where he was approached by frustrated residents and supporters.
MacLeod urges province to provide emergency funds
Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod wants the provincial government to provide one-time social services funding to the City of Ottawa to help those affected by the loss of transit.
MacLeod, an opposition Conservative, said money from Queen's Park would offset the city's $700,000 emergency plan that includes taxi chits and assistance for the working poor and those who lost jobs during the strike.
"The time has come for the (government) to step up to the plate on the humanitarian side," MacLeod told the legislature on Sunday, as MPPs voted on back-to-work legislation for striking York University employees.
MacLeod said calls to her constituency office for support from Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works recipients have "increased dramatically" in recent weeks. She also outlined her proposal in a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Parliament Hill protest planned
As both sides return to the table Monday, a group of Ottawa residents plan to march from City Hall to Parliament Hill at 10:30 a.m.
Organizers want the federal government to place OC Transpo under federal regulations for drivers' hours of service, which does not currently include public transit, because buses cross provincial lines and cannot be regulated from Queen's Park.