Metro Vancouver bus drivers, SeaBus workers vote 99% in favour of strike mandate

Oct 11 2019, 7:03 am

Metro Vancouver bus drivers and SeaBus workers could soon be walking off the job.

According to a release from Unifor, union members “delivered an overwhelming 99% strike mandate after negotiations for a new collective agreement broke off on October 3, 2019.”

Unifor represents over 5,000 workers with Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), which operates SeaBus passenger ferries and over 96% of Metro Vancouver’s bus services.

The workers — who are members of Unifor Local 111 and 2200 — have not had a contract since March 31, 2019. The union says that since the last collective agreement, “a significant increase in ridership has strained available resources and eroded working conditions.”

“Our members take the responsibility of providing safe, dependable public transportation seriously and they’re asking Coast Mountain to properly recognize the dedication and effort that the workers put in day in and day out to properly deliver it,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias, in a statement.

The strike mandate is in effect for 90 days under the BC Labour Relations code. If required, the union says it will provide a 72-hour notice of strike action. SkyTrain and West Coast Express employees are unaffected.

“The possibility of a strike is not taken lightly by the workers,” said Balbir Mann, Unifor Local 111 President. “We will continue to negotiate in good faith but we are prepared to take action if it proves necessary to obtain a fair contract that will allow our members to continue to deliver award-winning service to the public.”

Negotiations between the union and CMBC are set to resume on October 15, 2019.