West Coast Express service could be disrupted as the CP Rail union could be in a position to strike as early as next week. (THE NEWS/files)

West Coast Express service could be disrupted as the CP Rail union could be in a position to strike as early as next week. (THE NEWS/files)

TransLink ready if West Coast Express affected by CP Rail union job action

TransLink will provide multiple buses to connect customers to SkyTrain.

  • May. 25, 2018 9:00 p.m.

TransLink has prepared alternate service for West Coast Express customers after members of two unions working for CP Rail voted Friday to reject the company’s final offer.

CP is meeting with the unions to discuss next steps, according to TransLink, but they could be in a position to strike as early as next week.

“We are monitoring the situation closely for any impacts on West Coast Express service,” TransLink said in a release.

CP Rail says it is developing a contingency plan to maintain commuter rail service in the event of strike action.

“If a strike were to persist over the long term, however, it is possible there will be impacts on regular service,” TransLink said.

“Regardless, we have a plan in place to ensure transit connections along the West Coast Express system are maintained.”

If WCE service is disrupted, TransLink will provide multiple buses to connect customers travelling from Mission City, Port Haney, Maple Meadows, Pitt Meadows and Port Coquitlam WCE stations with SkyTrain at Coquitlam Central Station.

“We will deploy sufficient buses to match West Coast Express customer demand, with up to 12 buses during peak demand in the morning (including six, 60-foot articulated buses) and up to 15 buses during peak in the afternoon (eight articulated buses). We will also increase SkyTrain service on the Millennium Line, adding four trains to prevent overcrowding,” TransLink said.

“Our priority is to keep our customers moving.”

Friday, the two unions with members representing locomotive engineers and singals workers rejected a contract offer from CP Rail in the latest round of collective bargaining disputes between the two sides.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, which represents train and engine employees, rejected the company offer by a margin of 98 per cent with a voter turnout of 77 per cent.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents signals and communications employees, voted down their offer by 97 per cent with an 89 per cent voter turnout.

The unions must provide 72 hours strike notice before any job action can occur. A notice was issued a few weeks ago, however, CP Rail took the issue to the Canada Industrial Relations Board, which asked both unions to vote on the collective bargaining offers presented by the company.

There are approximately 3,000 conductors and engineers represented by the TCRC. Approximately 360 signal maintainers are represented by the IBEW.

• For updates on West Coast Express service, visit the TransLink Alerts page or follow TransLink on Twitter.