Deal reached: SkyTrain shutdown will not go ahead

Dec 10 2019, 4:55 am

A threatened three-day shutdown of SkyTrain’s Expo and Millennium lines has been avoided as a deal has been reached between CUPE 7000, the union representing employees, and TransLink subsidiary BC Rapid Transit Company.

The tentative agreement was reached just before 5 am.

If they had not reached a deal, the two lines that see approximately 350,000 boardings per weekday would have been completely shutdown from 5 am today until 5 am Friday.

TransLink says passengers should expect some delays to the start of service this morning, while BCRTC works towards providing regular schedules on the Expo and Millennium Lines.

As a result of the tentative agreement, Metro Vancouver’s transit network will operate as usual this week.

“This is great news for our customers who depend on our services,” said Michel Ladrak, president of BCRTC in a statement. “I thank all of our customers and staff for their patience through this uncertain time.”

This is the second major transit strike that has been avoided in recent weeks. Unifor, the union representing bus and SeaBus employees, reached a deal with another TransLink subsidiary, Coast Mountain Bus Company, at 12:30 am on November 27, the same day that strike was set to start.

While details of the tentative agreement will not be released until both parties have ratified it, CUPE 7000 president Tony Rebelo said the eleventh-hour deal goes a long way to address many of the union’s concerns going into this latest round of bargaining.

“Both parties worked long and hard throughout the weekend, Monday, and in to Tuesday morning to get this deal done,” Rebelo said just before a full shutdown of the Expo and Millennium lines was set to begin.

“We couldn’t have done it without the assistance of mediator Grant McArthur, so we thank him for his patience and wisdom throughout these talks,” said Rebelo, in a release. “I also want to thank my local bargaining committee and CUPE National staff for their efforts. Now it’s up to the members to ratify this agreement, which I can strongly recommend.”

CUPE 7000 represents approximately 900 SkyTrain workers who provide service as SkyTrain attendants and control operators as well as administration, maintenance, and technical staff.

Their last contract expired on August 31, 2019.