Unifor Coast Mountain Bus Company members will conduct a strike vote today after negotiations for a new collective agreement broke off on October 3, 2019.
“Months of talks have failed to produce any meaningful mandate to address wages, benefits and working conditions,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Our members have been working without a contract since March 31 and Coast Mountain has still to come to the table with an offer that addresses the key issues.”
More than 5,000 Unifor members work in the lower mainland 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.
“Our members know that the public relies on them and it is our sincere hope that Coast Mountain comes back with a serious offer to avoid strike action and inconvenience to transit riders, but we are determined to obtain a fair deal for the workers,” said Mike Smith, Unifor Local 2200 President.
Coast Mountain Bus Company is a subsidiary of TransLink, which was recently named the best public transportation system in North America.
“TransLink won this award in part because of the on-time service of our members, but what the company isn’t recognizing is that level of service was achieved due to lack of proper breaks and recovery time between trips,” said Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle. “Coast Mountain is also failing to address a serious understaffing issue, with overcrowded bus trips increasing 36 per cent between 2016 and 2018.”
Negotiations between Unifor and Coast Mountain are set to resume on October 15, 2019.
“TransLink ridership is on the rise, making it increasingly difficult for our members to properly deliver quality service to the region’s growing population” said Balbir Mann, Unifor Local 111 President. “Improved working conditions and increased compensation will be a priority for us during these negotiations.”