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Small businesses in Metro Vancouver prepare for SkyTrain job action

Last Updated Dec 9, 2019 at 10:27 am PDT

FILE - Cleaning pit crews of up to four members will start on SkyTrain cars and at key stations starting June 1. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

The Surrey Board of Trade says small businesses will feel the impacts if a SkyTrain strike goes ahead

About 900 SkyTrain workers will walk off the job on Tuesday if the two sides don't come to a resolution

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Ahead of a three-day shutdown set to begin Tuesday, members of the Metro Vancouver business community say a SkyTrain strike is going to hurt their bottom line.

Anita Huberman with the Surrey Board of Trade says small businesses, which often only have a couple of employees, are bracing for major impacts if a deal isn’t reached and their staffers can’t get to work.

“Productivity is going to be compromised and with both SkyTrain lines being shut down – even though Surrey only has four SkyTrain stations, many of our residents go into Vancouver, into Burnaby, to work.”

Running a small business can be challenging enough, especially if you don’t have a massive staff to help you out, she says.

“Employers are going to have to think of innovative ways to ensure what needs to get done, needs to get done. Depending on the nature of the industry people can work from home, but many have to go to their place of business to get their work done.”

RELATED: SkyTrain passengers brace for possible three-day strike hoping last-minute negotiations lead to deal

Huberman is calling for the sides to compromise, but in the meantime, suggests businesses try and work out carpooling arrangements or allow for more flexible start times.

“We absolutely know that a three-day job action on SkyTrain is going to affect our economy. It’s going to affect our bottom line for businesses. We want an immediate resolution to this job action today,” she says.

The union representing the workers issued a 72-hour strike notice on Friday, which followed 40 days of bargaining with the BC Rapid Transit Company, including four days of mediation.

About 900 SkyTrain workers will walk off the job if the two sides don’t come to a resolution, impacting both the Expo and Millennium lines.

If the shutdown goes forward, trains will not run until 5:00 a.m. on Friday. TransLink estimates about 150,000 people use the SkyTrain every weekday.

The company says it will provide an update on Monday afternoon on plans for buses and other operational transit lines if the strike does go ahead.

With files from Nikitha Martins and Mike Lloyd