VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Talks have broken down between the union representing bus drivers and Coast Mountain Bus Company, with job action set to begin at 8 a.m. on Friday.
“Unfortunately, a strike will commence tomorrow morning. It became clear that the company was not serious about reaching a deal,” says Gavin McGarrigle, Western Regional Director of Unifor.
“They didn’t change their position in terms of transit operator wages one penny. They didn’t change one comma with respect to their language on working conditions.”
Earlier this month, more than 5,000 members of Unifor locals 111 and 2200, representing bus drivers, SeaBus and maintenance staff, voted 99 per cent in favour of job action against Coast Mountain Bus Company, which operates on behalf of TransLink.
CMBC President Michael McDaniel said in a statement Thursday morning that the company has asked the union to participate in third-party mediation, but they refused.
McGarrigle confirms this.
“What we’re saying is very, very clear and what the company’s saying back to us is very, very clear. They’re not going to accept it and they’re prepared to take a strike. And if that’s what it takes then, unfortunately, that’s what it takes.”
McGarrigle is confident the public will side with transit workers across the region, even if they are inconvenienced by the job action.
“We don’t think the public is going to side with some company executives saying that they’re out there defending their interests. They know who serves them every day and it’s our members.”
McGarrigle says there is no possibility of talks resuming Thursday night.
Uniform bans and bans on maintenance worker overtime will be the first phase of job action.