Bus drivers ratify agreement

Abbotsford transit drivers represented by CUPE Local 561 have ratified a four-year agreement

Bus drivers in Abbotsford ratify new agreement.

Bus drivers in Abbotsford ratify new agreement.

Abbotsford transit drivers represented by CUPE Local 561 have ratified a four-year agreement.

CUPE 561, representing 150 transit drivers for the City of Abbotsford who work for the bus company First Canada, ratified an agreement that will see two per cent wage increases for each year plus an additional one per cent for Handydart drivers in the first year.

In April, members voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike mandate but no strike materialized. At that time the union called for wage parity for drivers of smaller buses, like Handydarts, with drivers of larger buses in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver.

Under the new contract, all wages are fully retroactive and the tiered wage schedule has been eliminated. The deal also includes life insurance coverage up to $50,000, improvements to the RRSP plan that will see the employer pay an additional .10 cents per hour in 2015 and 2016, a new orientation premium of $1.50 per hour, and language improvements.

“Overall, I think members can be very happy with this agreement. For the transportation sector, its terms are very competitive,” said CUPE National Representative Rob Jandric.

“It was a long road to this agreement, with mediator Grant McArthur having to step in. The biggest issue that was resolved was Handydart drivers getting an additional per cent, and we also managed to get the tiered wage scale removed. Considering the wages being negotiated in the rest of the province, I have to say I am pleased with this deal.”