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Striking DriveTest workers seek approval from Ontario to resume services

TORONTO - The union representing striking DriveTest workers is asking the province to allow it to resume some services for Ontario residents awaiting a driver's licence.

TORONTO - The union representing striking DriveTest workers is asking the province to allow it to resume some services for Ontario residents awaiting a driver's licence.

DriveTest workers began a strike on Aug. 21 over the key issue of job security after talks broke off with their employer, Serco DES Inc., and about 200 of them rallied at the legislature on Wednesday.

Wayne Fraser of United Steelworkers Local 9511 said the union is asking the province to allow it to resume written and vision testing.

He said he has asked Transportation Minister Jim Bradley to reconsider his earlier rejection of a request for a meeting to discuss a renewal of services.

Paul Dalglish, the managing director of DriveTest, said in an email Wednesday that by going to the province, union leaders are trying to bypass the collective bargaining process.

"It is troubling that any union would attempt to disrespect the collective bargaining process in the way the USW has," he said, adding that "DriveTest remains focused on restoring service to our customers and getting our employees back to work."

"We are disappointed that Mr. Wayne Fraser, who is being challenged in his re-election bid in the upcoming USW International executive elections, would so openly make these negotiations into a personal political opportunity when it has so much impact on our customers and our employees," Dalglish said.

The strike affects 93 full-time and part-time DriveTest sites, which grant or renew licences to novice drivers and those over 80.

The province earlier extended the expiry date of any licences that require a test for renewal. DriveTest has estimated some 4,000 people per day have not been able to obtain their driver's licence since the strike began.

The work stoppage, however, doesn't affect those who simply need to renew their licence without taking a test as they can still renew at Ontario Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Offices.

The province contracted out driver testing in 2003 to Serco DES in a 10-year deal.

 
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