Unifor, the union representing the transit workers, has served a 72-hour notice of job action.
Jerry Dias, Unifor National President, said the failure of Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) to address workers’ concerns about working conditions, wages, and benefits has led to the decision.
The strike action is yet to be determined but could range from work-to-rule or rolling strike action. The deadline is Thursday evening at midnight.
Unifor represents more than 5,000 workers at Coast Mountain Bus Company, with Unifor Local 111 representing transit operators in conventional and community shuttle and Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and Seabus workers.
“It’s not hard to understand what is happening here. The company is showing little respect for the difficult working conditions that our members must face every day,” said
The local unions voted 99 per cent in favour of strike action in early October, the first time in more than 18 years these local unions have issued strike notice.
Since the negotiation of the last collective agreement, the union says a significant increase in ridership has strained available resources and eroded working conditions.
“The system overload is impacting breaks and recovery time in between trips as drivers struggle to maintain service,” said Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle. “The end result is overworked drivers and that’s a serious safety issue that must be dealt with at the table.”
“Our members are proud to serve Metro Vancouver residents but our patience with CMBC is not limitless,” said Balbir Mann, Unifor Local 111 President.
Mike Smith, Unifor Local 2200 President, said it takes two sides to reach a compromise: “The deal is there if CMBC wants to reach out. The only reason we could be on strike by the weekend is because the employer has dug in with an unreasonable position.”
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy.