In an effort to cut costs amid a major drop in ridership and revenue, the TTC has announced plans to lay off approximately 1,200 employees over the coming weeks.
The transit agency says the pandemic has resulted in an 85 per cent drop in ridership and a loss of $90 million in monthly revenue, and a number of cost-saving measures are needed to keep them afloat.
As a result, they'll be "matching service capacity to system demand" by temporarily laying off up to 1,000 transit operators, subject to negotiations with ATU Local 113, the TTC workers' union. The agency says 200 non-union staff positions will also be impacted.
Difficult, sad day here. 1,200 positions to be subject to temporary lay off. Impacted employees will receive benefits through fall with further review then. Service will stay where it is today so all essential trips can continue. Read more at https://t.co/9e8CVjhNMk— TTCStuart (@TTCStuart) April 23, 2020
"This was not an easy decision to make and came only after reviewing all other options," said TTC CEO Rick Leary in a statement. "We will take care of the impacted employees as best we can during this difficult time and I look forward to everyone returning to the TTC once ridership has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels."
The transit system is also implementing several other cost-saving measures at this time, including pausing all salary increases for non-unionized employees, reducing overtime across the organization, reviewing current vacancies and forgoing all seasonal hires.
They're also delaying all non-essential capital projects in accordance with provincial guidelines.
Meanwhile, President of ATU Local 113 Carlos Santos says the federal and provincial governments should step in and provide emergency relief funding for the TTC to prevent these layoffs.
"This is the 'thank you' our members get for sacrificing themselves day in and day out for putting their families and themselves at risk," he wrote in a letter published Thursday morning.
"No doubt, this feels like a punch to the gut after all the hard work our members are doing to keep Toronto moving throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Almost 30 of you have tested positive for COVID-19. You deserve better than today's announcement."
Unbelievable. TTC is a vital service for many and these workers have been helping us get through this. With lower ridership and revenue, we need support from other governments ASAP to ensure we can keep our own employees working. https://t.co/yO3zA0lgsP— Mike Layton (@m_layton) April 23, 2020
Santos also said these layoffs will likely result in reduced service and crowding, which will negatively impact low-income essential workers and increase the risk of spreading the virus to those who are most vulnerable.
He said he plans to take the fight to Toronto City Hall, Parliament Hill and Queen's Park to ensure the TTC gets the emergency funding it needs to maintain service levels and prevent these layoffs.
by Mira Miller via blogTO