Gavin McGarrigle, the western regional director of Unifor, calls for the Coast Mountain Bus Company to up wages and improve break time for bus operators and maintenance workers. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Bargaining to resume in Metro Vancouver transit strike as bus driver overtime ban looms

Both sides might be headed back to the table to prevent new overtime ban

Both sides in the Metro Vancouver transit dispute have said they will return to the bargaining table Wednesday in hopes of avoiding more job action.

The news came Tuesday after Unifor, which represents 5,000 transit workers, said bus drivers will begin refusing overtime on Friday if a deal is not reached.

Now in its 12th day, a uniform ban continues for bus drivers and an overtime ban for maintenance workers, resulting in several cancelled SeaBus trips every day. TransLink announced six Seabus cancellations for Tuesday.

Gavin McGarrigle, the western regional director of Unifor, said the bus driver overtime ban could disrupt 10 to 15 per cent of the system.

McGarrigle questioned why the Coast Mountain Bus Company had not “even moved a comma” in wage offers.

“Ticketed skilled trade workers with Red Seal qualifications are paid vastly different if they work on bus equipment instead of SkyTrain equipment,” he told a news conference at Unifor’s New Westminster headquarters.

He said the company has not explained why they compare TransLink and CMBC executive compensation to Toronto’s system, but won’t do the same for the workers.

Citing a photo circling on social media of a bus driver’s break room, McGarrigle said the microwave installed right near the toilet showed the poor working conditions and lack of break time that the union wants addressed.

TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews said the photo was of just a bathroom, and CMBC did not intend for it to be used as a place to prepare food.

“There are 53 ‘comfort stations’ around the [transit] system. Thirty-five of them are full on break rooms with kitchens. The rest of them are just bathrooms,” Drews said.

She confirmed that bus operators are able to access a full break room at least once during their route.

At an unrelated news conference in Richmond the same day, Premier John Horgan said he was “confident that the parties… understand that the travelling public would prefer to see free collective bargaining work. And that’s our position as well.”

READ MORE: Buses cancelled on busy routes in Metro Vancouver

READ MORE: TransLink disputes severity of bus delays caused by transit strike


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Abbotsford dog to be featured on Jones Soda bottle

Yogi, 10, set to appear on the company’s beverages in the near future

Half of shoppers say they have no holiday spending budget

B.C. consumers surveyed estimate they will spend $921 this season

VIDEO: The Offspring performing, ‘Why Don’t You Get a Job?’ in Abbotsford

The Offspring played at Abbotsford Centre on Nov. 30 with Sum 41

As Abbotsford’s buses become more reliable, riders are following

City’s Route 1 is exceeding rapid transit benchmarks, staff tell council

COLUMN: Are food trucks or a lakeside restaurant in the cards for Mill Lake Park?

From coffee kiosks to lemonade stands, options abound for food & drink service at park

VIDEO: A brief history of bumps in the Trudeau-Trump relationship

Remember Peter Navarro saying ‘there’s a special place in hell’ for a foreign leader who aims to cheat?

Man killed in crash due to ‘absolutely treacherous’ conditions on Coquihalla

Winter means icy roads are dangerous and drivers should be careful, RCMP say

Bag of cocaine left in B.C. grocery store aisle

RCMP: ‘We sure would like to talk to’ person who left drugs behind

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

The Crown is seeking four to six years federal time; the defence wants 18 months in provincial jail

RCMP officer was justified using hose in rooftop standoff: B.C. watchdog

Police watchdog finds officers actions reasonable when man injured in 2018 incident

Cannabis ice cream? Province prepares for B.C. Bud edibles

Mike Farnworth’s special police unit takes down dispensaries

Union for parole officers at B.C. halfway house says public safety at risk

Increase in parole officers’ workload dealing with highest-risk offenders raises concern

Surrey fugitive captured in California was motivated by revenge, $160,000: court documents

Brandon Teixeira, charged with murder, wants to return to Canada ‘as soon as possible,’ says lawyer

Nearly 40% of Canadians want creationism taught in schools: poll

23% of Canadians believe God created humans in the past 10,000 years

Most Read