DriveTest workers reject latest offer

TORONTO — At the suggestion of their bargaining committee, the membership of United Steelworkers Local 9511 voted down their employer’s latest offer, continuing the strike at Ontario’s DriveTest centers.

The vote, which had 78 percent of voters rejecting the offer, also represented an increase in voter turnout from the previous vote on the original final offer.

"After 12 weeks of this unnecessary strike, this vote will send a strong message to Serco DES Inc.," said Jim Young, president of USW Local 9511. "We can only hope that Serco will finally listen to their employees, quit playing counter-productive games and negotiate a fair contract so the citizens of Ontario can get the quality service they deserve."

The employees have been on strike since Aug. 22. They work at the province’s 93 DriveTest centers. Serco has held the contract since 2003.

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.

Young has called on Serco to come back to the bargaining table and propose a reasonable offer and bargain in good faith.

"The picket lines will continue, and the citizens of Ontario will not get the service they deserve, until Serco presents a reasonable offer," said Young.

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