POLITICS

Saskatoon asks transit union to return to bargaining after labour board ruling

09/26/2014 11:07 EDT | Updated 11/26/2014 05:59 EST
SASKATOON - Saskatoon has asked the union representing transit workers to resume bargaining.

The city made the decision after the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board ruled Friday it would not order an end to the lockout.

Director of human resources, Marno McInnes, says the city is ready to sit down and bargain "on a moment's notice."

The board also told the city to make no further changes to the workers' pension plan -- city council had made changes to it earlier this week.

Transit union lawyer Gary Bainbridge says although they would have liked the lockout lifted, the decision on the pension was a positive one for the union — the pension was a major issue in previous negotiations.

The city locked out workers last Saturday.

The union had argued that the lockout was illegal because there is an outstanding union complaint before the board.

"We have not changed our commitment to resolving this labour dispute and returning bus service to our customers," McInnes said in a news release.

He said the city has offered a four-year wage increase of 10 per cent to all of its unions and the transit union's request for a 22 per cent wage hike over the same period is "not a reasonable position."

"We simply cannot defend this to taxpayers. We want to find a solution," McInnes said.

— With files from CJWW