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Unifor launches legal challenge to Translink layoffs

April 23, 2020 - 12:00 AM

April 23, 2020

VANCOUVER—Unifor will use the B.C. Labour Code to challenge Translink subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus Company’s lay-off notices issued on Monday, April 20, 2020.

“Transit service rollbacks must be stopped,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The federal government needs to act fast. It is a mistake to weaken the public transit system while tens of thousands of essential workers rely on it every day.”

Close to 1,000 transit operators and 200 maintenance staff have received layoff notice effective May 18, 2020. Unifor will argue that CMBC breached the Labour Relations Code by not giving 60 days notice. The union will be seeking to have the lay-offs rescinded, or at minimum pay workers during the 60 days.

In the meantime, Unifor is urging members of the public to tell their Members of Parliament that federal emergency funds are urgently needed to keep transit service reliable during the pandemic. Unifor wrote to the Prime Minister this week urging him to provide similar assistance to public transit that has been already granted to the airline industry.

“Other critical transportation networks, such as airlines, have been granted access to federal subsidies,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “Let’s show essential services workers that we are committed to getting them to work safely and efficiently.”

Balbir Mann, President of Unifor Local 111 representing transit operators, said the company should have used proper notice provisions to begin respectful dialogue with the union. “We’re not going to let the employer cut corners when it comes to layoffs of this magnitude. They should know better.”

President of Local 2200 representing Seabus and CMBC maintenance staff, Mike Smith, said TransLink’s approach to the layoffs is causing more delays than it should. “Instead of rushing to put our members out of a job, Translink should follow the law and engage in good faith to make sure we can collaborate on balancing the interests all parties, including essential services workers.”

Unifor is calling on all levels of government to come together to maintain transit service levels to keep passengers safe and to keep the struggling Metro Vancouver economy moving.

Information about the union’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at unifor.org/COVID19.

To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype/Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).