(Black Press file photo).

Metro Vancouver bus drivers shed uniforms as contract talks break off

VANCOUVER — The union representing 5,000 bus drivers in Metro Vancouver says contract talks have broken off, setting the stage for the start of job action on Friday.

Unifor had set a deadline at midnight on Thursday before taking action to back contract demands.

The union says all transit operators will refuse to wear uniforms on Friday, and technicians and skilled trades workers will not work overtime.

Unifor says in a statement the job actions are aimed at bringing attention to the dispute while causing minimum disruption for commuters.

Coast Mountain Bus Company says it made a fair offer to the union before talks broke off.

In a statement, it says without maintenance overtime there will be bus and SeaBus cancellations. The SeaBus connects downtown Vancouver with the North Shore across the Burrard Inlet.

Wages, benefits and working conditions are key issues in the dispute. The union voted 99 per cent in favour of strike action. It gave 72-hour strike notice earlier this week.

The last transit strike in Metro Vancouver was in 2001 when a four-month walkout crippled the commute for hundreds of thousands of people.

Mike Smith, president of Unifor Local 2200, said workers declining overtime will quickly increase pressure on bus and SeaBus services.

“The system has normalized overtime, so without it, the turnaround for repairs and other maintenance will build up quickly,” he said in the news release.

Coast Mountain president Michael McDaniel said the company asked the union to take part in third-party mediation, but it refused.

McDaniel said the company is offering significantly better wages and benefits and is addressing working conditions.

“This package would be greater than most other public sector settlements in B.C.,” he said in the company statement.

But Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s western regional director, said the company made “virtually no movement” in contract talks this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2019.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Westerner Park asks the city for up to $3.5 million to continue operating

The city has already given Westerner Park $1 million in emergency funding

86-year-old shaves his head to raise money for Red Deer Food Bank

Red Deer resident Art Nichols, who shaved his head recently to raise… Continue reading

NHL says 5% of players have tested positive for COVID-19 at voluntary workouts

NEW YORK — The NHL says 35 players have tested positive for… Continue reading

Tories, NDP lay out demands as Liberals prepare to reveal state of economy

OTTAWA — Opposition parties have laid out their demands as the federal… Continue reading

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

David Marsden: Leave the financial stimulus to private industry

So, you’ve heard the announcement about the economic stimulus that is much… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake woman distressed after cat shot at with pellet gun, loses its eye

Warning: Photo may be disturbing to some. Evelina Cornell’s cat Ms Grey was shot in the face and hip

Flood of people are expected to flee Hong Kong clampdown

“We will grant BNOs five years’ limited leave to remain (in the… Continue reading

Canadian Taylor Pendrith one shot back heading into final round

BERTHOUD, Colo. — Canadian Taylor Pendrith is in contention for his first… Continue reading

Five things to watch as Blue Jays open training camp in Toronto

Most MLB players are beginning their summer training camps Friday in preparation… Continue reading

Theatre star Nick Cordero dies at 41 after months of complications from COVID-19

TORONTO — Hamilton-raised theatre star Nick Cordero, who had legions of supporters… Continue reading

Spaghetti Western movie composer Ennio Morricone dead at 91

ROME — Ennio Morricone, the Oscar-winning Italian composer who created the coyote-howl… Continue reading

P.E.I. reports three new COVID-19 cases, including one seniors’ residence employee

CHARLOTETOWN, P.E.I. — Prince Edward Island reported new COVID-19 cases for the… Continue reading

Most Read