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SkyTrain workers vote to strike

Last Updated Nov 21, 2019 at 7:30 pm PST

Summary

SkyTrain workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action

CUPE 7000 says they are committed to reaching a deal without disruptions to service

The union is asking to meet with BC Rapid Transit Company to come to an agreement before planned mediation next week

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Transit riders in Metro Vancouver are facing the possibility of even more disruptions now that 900 SkyTrain workers have voted in favour of strike action.

The CUPE 7000 members have delivered a 96.8 per cent strike mandate after talks broke down to create a new contract Nov. 12.

RELATED: Don’t expect to ride SkyTrain for free if transit strike escalates

No strike notice has been issued yet, and more mediated talks will be held later this month with negotiators for employer BC Rapid Transit Company. Canada Line and West Coast Express would not be affected by any future job action, as they are not members of this union.

Union President Tony Rebelo says they are committed to reaching a deal without disruptions to SkyTrain users.

“There’s no danger of strike notice whatsoever. We’re committed to getting a deal without having any type of service disruption, but now that’s up to the employer. The employer needs to come to the table, bargain with us seriously, and understand that our members are not happy with what has been offered and how they’ve been acting at the table.”

RELATED: Disability advocate warns of impact Metro Vancouver transit strike could have

He says workers are frustrated after more than 40 bargaining sessions, the employer has failed to resolve some key issues including wages, staffing levels and forced overtime.

“Our members told us clearly what they’re willing to do, to get a good and fair deal at the table,” he says.

Mike Ladrak, President of the BC Rapid Transit Company, says they are looking forward to discussions and hope they can reach a fair deal.

“Eight mediated meetings have been scheduled to occur over the next month. Mediation is a very important and productive way for parties to resolve their differences in any labour negotiation,” he says in a news release.

RELATED: Local businesses brace for impact of full bus shutdown in transit strike

“While CUPE 7000 members have passed a vote which gives them the option of taking job action, at this time the union has not given any indication of providing a strike notice.  There is currently no disruption to SkyTrain service.”

Job action by transit workers with Coast Mountain Bus Company, who are represented by Unifor, began Nov. 1. A full shutdown of the bus system has been promised by that union Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week if a new deal isn’t reached.