In preparation for a forced supervised vote on the city’s last contract offer, the union representing 2,300 striking OC Transpo employees is hosting an information session on Monday.

Federal Labour Minister Rona Ambrose ordered the vote — which must be held prior to Jan. 9 — last Wednesday after the city had requested the move on Christmas Eve.

Ambrose appointed the Canada Industrial Relations Board to supervise the vote.

If the offer is rejected, CIRB also has the option of declaring transit an essential service.

“After carefully taking into consideration the concerns raised about public safety, I have asked the board to review the existing maintenance of activities agreement between the parties to ensure that public health and safety are not jeopardized,” said Ambrose in a press release.

ATU Local 279 president Andre Cornellier said: “An unprecedented decision has been made to disrupt the flow of the collective bargaining process.”

Neither side has spoken since mediated talks broke off before Christmas with both sides accusing the other of being inflexible, particularly with regards to how drivers’ schedules are determined.

Ottawa has been without public transit since drivers, mechanics and dispatchers walked off the job on Dec. 10.

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