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Canada Line workers reach tentative deal with employer, avoid service disruption

Last Updated Feb 2, 2021 at 6:54 pm PDT

Summary

Service disruption to the Canda Line was avoided Tuesday

The union representing Canada Line workers was able to reach a tentative agreement with its employer

The details of the agreement are still being reviewed before the deal is ratified

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There won’t be any service disruption to the Canada Line now that the union representing the transit workers and their employer have reached a tentative deal.

B.C. Government & Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) members were prepared to walk off the job if talks with Canada Line operator Protrans BC broke down. About 180 employees have gone 13 months without a contract and were seeking wage parity and sick time.

“We’re absolutely thrilled,” Union president Stephanie Smith tells NEWS 1130. “We were able to land a deal at the table, which is what our goal was all along.”

A 72-hour strike notice was issued after mediation stalled on Friday, and talks went through the weekend until a tentative deal was reached.

The details of the agreement are still being reviewed before the deal is ratified.

“We are optimistic a fair agreement has been reached for both parties,” reads a statement from Protrans. “We want to express our appreciation to the BCGEU negotiating team for their ongoing professionalism in working together for the betterment of our employees.”

A statement from TransLink echoed support that a tentative agreement was reached.

“I want to thank both parties for working hard to reach this deal,” TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond says. “The Canada Line is a vital service that supports thousands of people who rely on our services for essential travel. I’m happy to see an agreement reached without any impact on our customers during this critical time.”

The BCGEU was seeking wage parity with SkyTrain workers, who make about three per cent more than Canada Line workers, according to the union.

Talks between the union and Protrans had been ongoing since last February, two months after the last contract expired.

-with files from Paul James, Lisa Steacy and Kurtis Doering