VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Transit workers around Vancouver are closer to walking off the job.
A strike vote is planned for October 10th because contract talks with negotiators for Unifor and the Coast Mountain Bus Company have broken off.
Coast Mountain Bus Company operates 96 per cent of TransLink buses as well as the Seabus. Unifor represents more than 5,000 bus drivers, maintenance workers and Seabus operators.
“Our members know that the public relies on them and it is our sincere hope that Coast Mountain comes back with a serious offer to avoid inconvenience to transit riders,” said Mike Smith, Unifor Local 2200 President.
Negotiations have stalled because union leaders say concerns over benefits and wages have not been addressed. Another key issue is working conditions, which the union reports have worsened due to an increase in ridership.
“Coast Mountain is also failing to address a serious understaffing issue, with overcrowded bus trips increasing 36 per cent between 2016 and 2018,” says Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle.
Unifor members have been working without a contract since March 31, 2019.
If they vote in favour of strike action, service across the region will not immediately come to a halt.
In 2016, the union voted to strike but a contract was negotiated in time to avert any major disruptions to service.