Striking Durham Region workers to vote on deal

By: The Canadian Press

 | Jun 20, 2014 - 10:24 AM |
OSHAWA, Ont. - Striking public sector workers in Durham Region will vote on an amended contract deal on Saturday.

Durham officials say the union representing the workers has agreed to take the region's "revised final offer" to its membership for ratification two days after it was negotiated on Wednesday night.

Many of the 1,600 inside public sector workers walked off the job Thursday in the municipality east of Toronto after CUPE Local 1764 stated negotiations had broken down.

The region's chair and CEO Roger Anderson says the CUPE local would not agree to delay the strike during Wednesday's negotiations and did not plan to take the deal to its members for a vote at that time.

But he says the union has now decided to give the membership a chance to vote on the amended deal.

"The Region has worked very hard to present a fair deal for our employees," said Anderson in a statement. "That's why we were pleased to learn of this new development."

He adds it seems CUPE is "finally giving its membership a chance to voice their own opinions about this situation."

One of the main sticking points in negotiations involves benefits such as sick leave.

The union says the revised offer still contains concessions and is calling on its members reject it.

"We need to send an even stronger message to our employer that we will not be bullied into accepting an inferior contract," the union said in a statement.

The workers on strike include those providing child care, income support, court services, public health inspections and traffic operations.

Paramedics are also represented by the union, but are required to keep working to provide essential services during the strike.

Other services such as long-term care, pre-scheduled provincial court matters and curbside waste collection are continuing.

But six of the region’s seven directly operated childcare centres have been closed since provincial child-to-caregiver ratios cannot be met.

The workers have been without a contract since it expired on March 31.

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