No SeaBus sailing cancellations on Wednesday as transit strike continues

Nov 20 2019, 8:25 am

On Wednesday, November 20, for the second day in a row, TransLink has announced that there will be no SeaBus sailing cancellations.

This past weekend, the company warned passengers to expect the most significant disruptions on Monday and Tuesday since the strike began more than two weeks ago. TransLink later announced that the disruption was being called off, as a “staffing shortage issue” was resolved. There were still twelve sailing cancellations on Monday and none on Tuesday.

Next phase of job action to be announced on Wednesday

Unifor, the union representing Metro Vancouver’s transit workers, has stated that they plan to announce the next phase of job action on Wednesday morning.

The organization says that it was prompted to do so after “a failure by the employer to make new offers at the bargaining table.” While the union has yet to share specific details of what the next phase of job action entails, they noted that dozens of union members received strike training.

The announcement is scheduled to be made by Gavin McGarrigle, Western Regional Director of Unifor — the union representing the workers.

Unifor’s overtime ban on bus operators

Unifor’s overtime ban on bus drivers went into effect last Friday, adding another layer to labour action that already entails an overtime ban for maintenance workers and a ban on uniforms.

TransLink subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) and Unifor briefly resumed negotiations last Thursday, but talks quickly fell apart, leading to the escalation of job action of bus drivers the next day.

CMBC says the union rejected its offer of increasing the top annual wage for bus drivers by about $6,100 over four years, bringing their annual salary to $69,900 after two years of employment. For skilled trades workers, their top annual wages would increase by about $10,000 to bring their annual salary to $88,000.

The public transit authority maintains their rejected increases outpace other public sector settlements in the province, and that meeting the union’s complete demands would necessitate raising fares and taxes while cutting back on service expansion plans amidst rapidly growing ridership. Over 10 years, the union’s plan would cost about $700 million.

With files from Kenneth Chan and Eric Zimmer. 

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