After almost a year without a contract and weeks of disagreements, Acadian Lines will lock out its workers as of 6:30 a.m. this Friday.
Eighty-eight per cent of the union’s membership voted against the newest offer from the bus line.
“It was an insulting offer that was obviously cobbled together quickly,” union president Glen Carr said in a press release.
The union gave its notice to strike as early as Friday, but the company beat them to the punch.
“We couldn’t allow a situation to develop where passengers would be left stranded on a moment’s notice due to a labour dispute,” Groupe Orléans Express spokesman Marc-André Varin said in a press release. “We decided that it’s best for everyone if we locked out employees and shut down operations to concentrate on reaching an agreementthat both parties can live with, respect and manage efficiently.”
Mechanics, maintenance workers, drivers and customer service representatives from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have been without a contract since Dec. 31.
As of Friday morning, the company will completely shut down services in New Brunswick and P.E.I. Connections between Nova Scotia and Quebec also won’t be available and some other routes may be affected in Nova Scotia.
According to a press release issued by Orléans Express, the company that owns Acadian Lines, “significant progress” will need to be made before union members can go back to work. The most recent package Acadian Lines put forward covered contentious issues like salaries, benefits and work assignments, said Varin on Saturday.
The company presented Acadian Lines with the deal on Friday morning after the two sides met with a conciliator.
Acadian Lines workers nearly went on strike in 2008 over the same issues. A deal was reached at the 11th hour to keep buses on the road.
Representatives from Acadian Lines weren’t immediately available to comment.
More to come as this story develops.
With files from Alyssa Mosher.
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