5,000 employees set to walk off jobs if no deal reached
Unifor members at Coast Mountain Bus Company in Vancouver delivered an overwhelming 99 per cent strike mandate on Oct. 10, after negotiations for a new collective agreement broke off on Oct. 3.
“Our members take the responsibility of providing safe, dependable public transportation seriously and they’re asking Coast Mountain to properly recognize the dedication and effort that the workers put in day in and day out to properly deliver it,” says Jerry Dias, Unifor national president.
Unifor represents more than 5,000 workers at Coast Mountain Bus Company, with Unifor, Local 111 representing transit operators in conventional and community shuttle and Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and Seabus workers.
Since the negotiation of the last collective agreement, a significant increase in ridership has strained available resources and eroded working conditions, says the union.
“The system overload is impacting breaks and recovery time in between trips as drivers struggle to maintain service,” says Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor western regional director. “The end result is overworked drivers and that’s a serious safety issue that must be dealt with at the table.”
The workers have been without a contract since March 31. Negotiations between the union and the company are set to resume on Oct. 15, says Unifor.The strike mandate is in effect for 90 days under the B.C. Labour Relations code. Should it be required, the union will provide a 72-hour notice of strike action, says the union.