DriveTest strike testing workers patience

TORONTO — Two recent demonstrations by DriveTest employees hoped to sway the Ontario government into intervening in the ongoing labour dispute, but to no avail.

Some employees of the province’s driver examination centers gathered in Windsor last week, where Finance Minister Dwight Duncan was giving a speech and again yesterday at Queen’s Park, urging the province to bring an end to the strike, which is in its 15th week.

A private member’s bill was introduced by the opposition to try and push the province to intervene in the strike, but it’s unlikely to be supported. The government insists the dispute be settled at the negotiating table with help from government mediators.

The employees have been on strike since Aug. 22. They work at the province’s 93 DriveTest centers, which are operated by Serco DES, who has held the contract since 2003.

To help deal with the disruption, seven DriveTest centers in the province were opened on a limited basis. The only services being provided are: Written tests for all classes of licence, road tests for commercial classified licences, and out-of-province and out-of-country licence exchanges.

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.

— with files from CBC

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