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Canada: Small businesses, employees held hostage by Ottawa transit strike

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on Ottawa’s Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279to immediately return to the bargaining table to end the already damaging Ottawa transit strike.

“The few weeks leading up to Christmas are a make it or break it time for many small businesses,” said Garth Whyte, executive vice-president for CFIB. “The union is holding businesses, their customers and employees hostage at a critical period,” Whyte added.

With the softening economy, CFIB noted that the transit union needs to be more modest in its wage demands and allow OC Transpo to find ways of improving efficiencies in routes and scheduling.

CFIB’s recent report Wage Watch revealed significant wage and benefit advantages for public sector workers over similar occupations in the private sector. While the study excludes bus drivers, this research shows other public sector transit workers in Ottawa-Gatineau have a 24 per cent wage advantage over similar jobs in the private sector. This was the highest wage premium of all the major centres in the study, including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary.

“Ottawa taxpayers and transit users should not be faced with massive new costs in our more challenging economic times. We are calling on the union to immediately end the strike and work with OC Transpo on a reasonable deal for all parties,” Whyte concluded.

*source- Media Release- CFIB