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Canada Line workers issue 72-hour strike notice

Last Updated Jan 29, 2021 at 6:23 pm PDT

Summary

A strike would start Monday at 4 p.m., the union says it remains hopeful a deal can be struck without service disruption

The roughly 180 workers on the Canada Line have been bargaining since February 2020

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The union representing workers on the Canada Line says negotiations with the employer have broken down, prompting them to issue notice of their intention to strike Friday.

A strike would start Monday at 4 p.m., but the union says it remains hopeful a deal can be struck without service disruption.

The roughly 180 workers on the Canada Line have been bargaining since February 2020. The strike notice follows four days of mediation where the main sticking points have been pay, sick leave, and contract length.

“This dispute is about frontline workers fighting for the respect and support they deserve,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith in a statement.

“The bottom line is our members are demanding fair compensation, meaningful sick benefits, and basic respect from their employer for the vital services they’ve provided to our communities, especially during the pandemic.”

Another round of bargaining is set for Sunday.

“What our members want is a fair contract. We know the bargaining table is the best way to get there and we are willing to use every minute of the next 72 hours to get that done. If those efforts fail, our members are prepared to take the next step,” Smith says.

Canada Line employees are represented by a different union than workers on the Expo, Millennium Lines, so a strike would not disrupt service on those lines.

One of the issues being raised by Canada Line workers is wage parity with workers on other SkyTrain lines.

Protrans BC, the employer, says in a statement that service updates will be provided over the weekend.

“Protrans BCremainscommittedtobargaining towards a fair agreement for both parties as we encourage the union to continue meeting at the table before the strike commences,” the statement reads.