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Metro Vancouver transit operators serve strike notice

October 28, 2019 - 12:00 AM

October 28, 2019

VANCOUVER—The failure of Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) to meaningfully address workers’ concerns about working conditions, wages, and benefits during this round of negotiations has led Unifor Local 111 and 2200 to serve 72-hour notice of job action.

“It’s not hard to understand what is happening here. The company is showing little respect for the difficult working conditions that our members must face every day,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

If an agreement is not achieved in the next 72 hours, job action that will affect services will begin. The precise form strike action will take is to be determined but could range from work-to-rule or rolling strike action. The deadline is Thursday evening at midnight.

“Unifor’s bargaining committees are prepared to stay at the table all week to reach a deal,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director and lead negotiator. “The company’s lack of movement leaves us little choice but to set a strike deadline.”

On October 10, 2019 the two Unifor local unions at the bargaining table voted 99 per cent in favour of strike action. This is the first time in more than 18 years these local unions have issued strike notice. The last time this happened there was a four-month strike in 2001.

“Our members are proud to serve Metro Vancouver residents but our patience with CMBC is not limitless,” said Balbir Mann, Unifor Local 111 President.

Mike Smith, Unifor Local 2200 President, said it takes two sides to reach a compromise: “The deal is there if CMBC wants to reach out. The only reason we could be on strike by the weekend is because the employer has dug in with an unreasonable position.” 

Unifor represents more than 5,000 workers at Coast Mountain Bus Company, with Unifor Local 111 representing transit operators in conventional and community shuttles and Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and Seabus workers.

For media inquiries, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at 778-903-6549 (cell).