After 27 hours of negotiations this past weekend in Moncton, Acadian Lines could not reach an agreement with its 59 locked out workers.
Acadian Lines buses have been off the road since the workers, who are mechanics, maintenance workers, customer service representatives and drivers, were locked out on Dec. 2. It’s the only form of intercity bus travel in New Brunswick.
“While limited progress was made, the parties are still far from an agreement,” Orléans Express spokesman Marc-André Varin said in a press release early Monday. Orléans Express owns Acadian Lines.
Both sides were hopeful heading into negotiations, the first talks between the company and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1229 since December. A federal mediator was credited for pushing to go back to the table.
Union president Glen Carr said union representatives were willing to extend talks into Monday morning, but Acadian Lines walked out of negotiations around 11 p.m. Sunday.
“The union is willing to return to the table ASAP and needs the company to return to the table with an open mind,” Carr said in an email.
Varin said the union lacks the seriousness and willingness to solve the issues at the core of the dispute.
Acadian Lines has lost more than $7 million over eight years and the company can’t continue to operate as it was in New Brunswick, he added.
“We can’t keep spending money we simply do not have.”
Two issues the two sides can’t agree on are work organization and driver assignments. The company says it needs to make changes to the system it was using before the lockout to be more efficient.
“We know that these gains alone will not allow us to reach profitability but they are an important component of an overall effort we need to do collectively to turn things around if we hope to keep offering this important service in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island,” Varin wrote
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