Watch above: Transit labour unrest may have damaged city’s reputation
SASKATOON – Even though the buses are back up and running, has the damage already been done?
First the Saskatoon Transit lockout was found to be illegal, then another lockout was issued which was then withdrawn, all within three days.
Experts agree the transit labour situation has been less than ideal for the city’s reputation.
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“I think that it really hasn’t turned out I think the way the city wanted it to turn out,” said Dr. Dionne Pohler, assistant professor at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.
“I think that the problem with the clause in the Saskatchewan Employment Act is it was an issue of interpretation over whether or not the lockout was in fact legal or not.”
According to city councillor Darren Hill, the first lockout was the council’s decision.
“We did what we deemed to be the right course of action based on the information that was provided to us,” said Hill.
It was the second lockout, said Hill, that was issued by administration prior to an executive council meeting to discuss the ruling from the labour relations board, one that city council would withdraw.
It was the right move said Pohler.
“It was a very good move on the part of the city to rescind the second lockout notice. I think that it indicates that the city is willing to take a step forward at this point and I would hope that the union would choose to take the same approach,” Pohler, who admits that even so, there are no winners in this situation.
“I think that right now, nobody is really happy with either (side) in this issue, particularly the public.”
Hill says he received a tweet with colourful language on Sunday.
“I don’t make my decisions based who’s going to vote for me in the future, this was a very complicated matter, it’s not over yet,” explained Hill.
“We still have an agreement to reach with the Amalgamated Transit Union, there’s a great distance between us and I’m still sure there’s going to be people on both sides that will be upset with the decisions and vote that I make.”
Taxpayers are divided on the situation.
“I think they’re very capable people.”
“I usually don’t vote but come election who knows right, we’ll see how long this lasts.”