Striking OC Transpo workers will decide by Thurs­day whether to accept the city’s latest contract offer.

At the request of the city, federal Labour Minister Rona Ambrose ordered the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 to hold the vote before Jan. 9.

The negotiating team from the union, which represents around 2,300 OC Transpo drivers, mechanics and dispatchers, said they refused to put the latest offer to a vote since it was not substantially different than the offer that was overwhelmingly rejected Dec. 4.

OC Transpo buses have been parked since Dec. 10 and neither side appears to have taken significant steps to ending the strike since it began.

The union is holding a meeting today to educate its members about the offer. City councillors are meeting tomorrow to discuss strike issues.

To alleviate traffic, the city is encouraging residents to carpool by opening up more than 3,000 more off-street parking spots around downtown and installing signage at selected bus stops on Albert and Slater streets designating them as carpool meeting areas during the afternoon peak period.

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