Large majority of Torontonians oppose firing of bus operator

TORONTO, Aug. 1, 2014 /CNW/ - Sixty-six percent of Torontonians polled about the TTC's firing of the Bus Operator who went through a red light last week said she should be penalized but not fired from her job, according to a Forum Research poll conducted on Thursday. Fifty-six percent said she should be suspended and then reassigned to a non-driving job and an additional ten percent said she should suffer some loss of pay. Only 19 per cent said she should be fired. The remaining respondents (14%) either did not know or said she should be given more than one penalty.

When results were tabulated by respondents' preference for mayoral candidate, Ford supporters were 65% in favour of loss of pay or suspension followed by reassignment. For Chow supporters it was 80% and for Tory supporters it was 65%. The results were fairly uniform across the City with North York residents slightly less in favour of the Operator being fired outright (17%). Etobicoke residents were most in favour of firing (22%).

"These results reflect what we have been hearing from the public all week," said Bob Kinnear, President of the transit workers' union.

"Our front line people have been deluged with comments from TTC riders that they thought the firing was too harsh.

"Yes, she made a serious mistake and yes, some kind of penalty is appropriate. But the circumstances of the incident – it was a confusing situation, triggered by someone sitting at a bus stop but who waved her on – and the fact that no one was injured, either on the street or on the bus, make this less than a firing offence."

Kinnear said that the poll results show the fundamental sense of fairness of Torontonians, left-leaning, right-leaning or in between.

"I call on the mayoral candidates to say whether or not they agree with the majority of their supporters, particularly Mayor Ford, who is our city's biggest champion for giving those who make a mistake a second chance.

"We understand that politicians should not interfere with the TTC's day-to-day labour relations, even though Council ratifies the collective agreement. All we are asking is if the candidates agree with their supporters. We hope they will have the courage to respond to this straightforward question."

The poll was conducted by Forum Research on July 31 among a randomly selected sample of 962 Toronto adults 18 years of age and older. The poll was conducted by Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%, 19 out of 20 times.

SOURCE: Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

For further information: Bob Kinnear is available for phone interviews only as he is out of town. Contact: Tim Little, 416-540-7003.

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

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