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Tentative settlement reached in York Region bus strike

Exactly three months after the strike first began, a tentative agreement has been reached between Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union and Veolia Transportation which operates Viva bus service.

The settlement is subject to ratification by the 220 members of Local 113 who work for Veolia. The vote will be held Thursday.

This tentative deal is unrelated to ongoing negotiations between ATU Local 1587 and Miller Transit, which operates YRT buses on 51 routes in Markham, Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville. Negotiations between the two sides are scheduled to resume Wednesday.

The ongoing labour dispute has affected 60 per cent of YRT service, inconveniencing about 44,000 people a day.

Veolia says the new agreement would last four years, and include a wage increase and improve benefits like healthcare and sick days. Local 113 has refused to comment on the nature of the agreement until ratification, however they are recommending the membership accept the agreement.

Veolia also says if the agreement is ratified, it plans to have Viva buses on the roads no later than Saturday, Feb. 4.after performing vehicle maintenance and putting drivers through refresher training.

Last week, York Region terminated its contract with First Canada, which operated 29 YRT routes. Region officials say that service will be replaced by Feb. 5.