Pacific Coach Lines workers vote 79% in favour of job action


VANCOUVER, Dec. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - Unifor members working at Pacific Coach Lines have voted overwhelmingly to take job action if necessary to achieve a fair severance package for long-serving drivers impacted by recent job cuts at the company.

"20-year veterans are being told that they won't be getting any severance," said Mario Santos, a National Representative at Unifor. "It is a cold-hearted move to treat your veteran employees like that."

After performing cross-water bus service with BC Ferries for 30 years, it was recently announced that the contract would not be renewed, leading to lay-offs of about 70% of PCL's workforce.

"Employees feel like they have been abandoned by BC Ferries and PCL and left with no place to go," said Santos.

The union is now in a legal position to serve 72 hours strike notice to PCL and then move toward job action at any time over the next 90 days.

"The Whistler ski season is just underway, so settling a fair deal with their veteran employees should be a priority if PCL doesn't want to interrupt key services to customers during a busy time," Joie Warnock, Unifor's Western Director.

The Local 114 contract with PCL expired on March 31, 2015 and negotiations have been ongoing since April 2015. The union has met with the company for 11 days of negotiations with no success.

Unifor Local 114 represents a bargaining unit of 77 workers at Pacific Coach Lines including drivers, mechanics, service staff and ticket agents. Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.