TORONTO, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - French-owned Veolia Transportation is
aggressively attempting to force Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113
into a strike against the York Region local bus services in Vaughan,
says local union president Bob Kinnear.
Local 113 also represents about 150 York Region VIVA bus operators who
are also employed by Veolia, as well as nearly 10,000 Toronto Transit
A strike deadline has been set for start-of-service this coming Monday
morning, February 14, 2011. The union remains open to negotiating an
agreement in order to avert a strike.
The newly-organized group of about 200 operators and maintenance workers
were transferred to Veolia when their prior employer, Can-Ar Coach
Services, lost the York Region contract to provide local bus service in
"It is very clear that Veolia, which is highly subsidized by York Region
taxpayers, wants a mid-winter strike that will greatly inconvenience
local residents who rely on bus transportation," says Kinnear.
"This is consistent with Veolia's anti-union behaviour around the world.
They come into a country and suck up as much in tax subsidies as they
can get away with. And the less they pay the local work force, the more
profit they can send back to France. Currently, York Region has the
highest transit fares in the GTA at $3.25. On top of that fare, York
Region subsidizes every ride by about an additional four dollars. Where
is all that tax money going? Certainly not to the workers.
"These Veolia workers are the lowest-paid in the GTA, by far. Their
wages are as much as 30 per cent less than those paid to transit
workers in neighbouring Brampton, Mississauga and Durham. They are also
lower than Veolia employees who drive the Viva express buses. They work
longer shifts than any other group of transit workers, some over 14
hours a day."
A major issue in dispute is sick days. These workers have no compensable
sick days whereas their fellow workers at Viva have four paid sick days
"It is a public safety issue when low-wage bus operators are penalized
for being sick so they are forced to drag themselves into work when
they might have the flu or some other transmissible illness that
interferes with their ability to safely perform their work.
"Our members are very reasonable and want to keep working. But it is
very unreasonable to expect them to work for less than their fellow
workers at the same company doing essentially the same work."
Veolia Transportation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paris,
France-based Veolia Environnement, which reports annual earnings in
excess of $50 billion CDN.
SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113
For further information:
Laura Ziemba, 416-712-0412