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No strike in sight as negotiations with bus, SeaBus workers continue

Last Updated Oct 18, 2019 at 10:12 am PDT

(Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)
Summary

Members of the union representing bus and SeaBus workers voted 99 per cent in favour of a strike mandate last week

Three days of negotiations wrapped up Thursday, three more are scheduled for end of the month

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Commuters who depend on Metro Vancouver buses won’t see picket lines go up any time before Hallowe’en.

Last week, members of the union representing bus and SeaBus workers voted 99 per cent in favour of a strike mandate.

Three days of scheduled negotiations between the union and Coast Mountain Bus Company wrapped up Thursday.

“We’ve just come through three days of negotiations and we’re starting to make some progress, although it’s slow at this stage,” according to Gavin McGarrigle, Western Regional Director of Unifor.

Three more days of negotiation are scheduled for Oct. 24, 25 and 28.

“We have to give 72 hours notice of any action and we’ve committed that we will not consider doing that until we see how bargaining goes in these three days, so the earliest that we would be considering anything would be after Oct. 28,” he explains.

Wages, benefits and working conditions are key issues for the union, and the contracts are complex.

“With a contract covering five thousand members, there are many different clauses that are in play. We’ve been putting in the hard work to make sure that we’re trying to go through them one at a time, but you know, we want to make sure that we get it right and that we respond appropriately to our members’ concerns.”