Unifor western regional director Gavin McGarrigle, left, Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation chair Jonathan Cote, right, speak about the transit strike at separate press conferences in New Wesminster on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Unifor western regional director Gavin McGarrigle, left, Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation chair Jonathan Cote, right, speak about the transit strike at separate press conferences in New Wesminster on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

UPDATE: Unifor says transit strike will continue till CMBC offers a new deal

Transit strike has gone into its fourth day

The chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation is asking both sides of the transit strike to come to the table as job action entered its fourth day.

“I am disappointed that we have not been able to resolve the labour dispute between Unifor and Coast Mountain Bus Company,” said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote standing on his city hall steps on Monday.

“The bus service in the Metro Vancouver region is so critical to our transportation system and the expansion of our bus service is a significant part of the mayors’ 10-year-plan.”

The mayors’ council is not involved in negotiations, but its $7-billion 10-year-transit plan could be affected.

Cote said the $600-million cost difference between the union’s request and the employer’s offer was “incredibly significant” and would hamper the transit system. Unifor represents 5,000 bus drivers and maintenance workers across Metro Vancouver.

Negotiations broke off on Friday, following the union enacting its first phase of job action that morning with a uniform ban for bus drivers and an overtime ban for maintenance workers.

So far, only SeaBus service has been affected, with many trips cancelled last weekend and another six on Monday.

“I know how hard transit operators work, and they deserve a fair negotiated settlement,” Cote said.

“It is disappointing to hear Unifor leadership suggest that the wage increases be done by scaling back the expansion plans that we do have for bus service in the region.”

READ MORE: Transit strike would mean no uniforms, overtime for maintenance workers

At a news conference at Unifor’s offices in New Westminster, western regional director Gavin McGarrigle said Unifor members are “big fans” of expanding public transit, but bus drivers not getting enough time for bathroom breaks is “inhumane.”

He said the union is willing to resume talks if the employer indicates they will amend their latest offer, which would increase maintenance workers’ wages 12.2 per cent and transit workers’ wages 9.6 per cent over four years, and enhance benefits and improve working conditions.

McGarrigle still pointed to a $3-an-hour wage gap for his members compared to their Toronto counterparts, and another gap compared to their SkyTrain colleagues.

“We do not understand why skilled trades workers who are working on SkyTrain under TransLink are paid so much more than the skilled trade workers that work for Coast Mountain Bus Company.”

Passengers could expect buses to be cancelled by midweek, he continued, and if Coast Mountain did not return to the bargaining table, the union would be forced to bring about a “complete work stoppage.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RE/MAX LifeStyles Realty donated $3,500 to the Christmas Hamper Society. (Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society/Special to The News)
Christmas hamper deadline extended for residents of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Anyone needing help needs to get in touch with the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society

Jacob Mattson was delighted once he completed 250 laps of the Maple Ridge Secondary School’s track. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge man runs mega-marathon for Movember

Jacob Mattson, 25, only started running frequently nine months ago

Lynn Martin captures this picture of the Golden Ears Mountain from her sundeck on 230th Street in Maple Ridge earlier this year. If forecasters are correct, we could be seeing a fair amount of snow on those mountain peaks again this winter. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Expected view sometime very soon

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

The City of Maple Ridge has cancelled the Christmas Convoy. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)
Santa Claus won’t be coming to Maple Ridge this year

The city’s Christmas Convoy has been cancelled along with photographs at ValleyFair Mall

Poor maps have resulted in hikers being led into dangerous terrain, and rescued by helicopter. (Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue)
Ridge Meadows search team lauds new maps of Golden Ears

Poor online maps led to helicopter rescues earlier this year

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Most Read