Unifor members at Coast Mountain Bus Company have delivered an overwhelming 99 per cent strike mandate, after negotiations for a new collective agreement broke off on October 3, 2019.
“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.
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.
Since the negotiation of the last collective agreement, 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.”
The workers have been without a contract since March 31, 2019. Negotiations between the union and the company are set to resume on October 15, 2019.
“There is still an opportunity for Coast Mountain to do the right thing and to come back to negotiations with an offer that addresses the outstanding issues,” said Mike Smith, Unifor Local 2200 President.
The strike mandate is in effect for 90 days under the BC Labour Relations code. Should it be required, the union will provide a 72-hour notice of strike action.
“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.”
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.