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Negotiations continue as GO bus strike looms

Monday morning’s commute could be in jeopardy for thousands of GO Transit bus riders across the GTA.

Talks between Metrolinx, which operates GO, and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1587, extended beyond the midnight strike deadline.

About 1,800 GO bus drivers, ticket sellers, maintenance and safety personnel, and some office staff could be on strike as of Monday if a contract settlement isn’t reached before with Metrolinx.

The average number of GO bus riders on a June weekday is 53,000.

The current three-year contract between Metrolinx and the union expired on Saturday.

Union president Dan Harris says they want a fair deal.

“The union’s intention is to continue to negotiate to get a fair collective agreement,” said Harris.

Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins says they will not discuss what is happening at the bargaining table publicly while negotiations are going on, but that they are committed to finding a solution.

“GO Transit hasn’t had a strike in its 47 year history so we hope to avert one this time as well,” said Aikins. “I’m ready and hopeful that we’ll be able to announce that we’ve reached a settlement.”

However, Metrolinx is recommending customers prepare for a possible disruption in service.

Train service will largely be unaffected but seasonal weekend service to Niagara and Barrie — which is slated to start at the end of next month — would be cancelled.

If there is a walk-out non-unionized staff will step in to keep stations open and ticket sales going.

With files from Carl Hanstke