Drive testers voting to go back to work
TORONTO -- The thousands of Ontario drivers and would-be drivers waiting to get their licence tests will be relieved to know that the approximately 500 strikers will be voting over the next few days on a new contract.
They shouldn't get too excited, though, as the United Steelworkers are recommending the employees reject the deal.
Paul Dalglish of Serco DES, the corporation that runs the province’s DriveTest centers told todaystrucking.com that the company made some concessions on the weekend and the union’s negotiating team agreed to take the revised version to its members.
Even though the union isn't keen on the offer, Dalglish says it's a good thing workers will at least have the opportunity to decide whether to end the 11-week strike themselves.
"That’s a good thing," Dalglish says. "Generally it's the bargaining committee that makes the decisions but at least now the members will get to decide whether they want to return to be workers at DriveTest or if they’d like to continue to be picketers for the United Steelworkers of America."
The employees have been on strike since August 22. They work at the province’s 93 DriveTest centers. Serco has held the contract since 2003.
Dalglish says that when the centers do re-open, priority will be given to individuals seeking their first licenses and those seeking commercial licences.
Others, such as people over 80 who have to write a test to renew their licenses, will be granted automatic extensions, probably until July 2011, at least.
Among the hardest hit have been truck-driving schools, whose graduates cannot obtain their CDLs, and yesterday, the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) organized two convoys on the provinces main highways into Toronto to protest the labor dispute.
Dalglish said the voting will take a few days and they might not have the results until later next week but if the workers do choose to get back to the office, Serco has its restart plans ready to be in business immediately.