Canadian Taxpayers Federation B.C. director Jordan Bateman.

TransLink defends growth of ‘six-figure club’

Overtime main reason more employees earned $100,000-plus, Metro Vancouver transportation agency says

TransLink is under fire from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for a 21-per-cent jump in what it calls the transportation authority’s “six-figure club” of staff earning more than $100,000 a year.

The CTF said it combed through TransLink’s latest financial disclosures and found 524 employees with six-figure earnings, up from 434 in 2013.

“It’s a pretty hefty one-year jump,” said CTF B.C. director Jordan Bateman, who led the No campaign that defeated the regional plebiscite on a proposed sales tax hike to fund a major transit expansion.

“This comes at a time when they were demanding a tax increase and crying poor and all these horrible things are happening in TransLink operations because they don’t have enough money.”

But TransLink spokesperson Colleen Brennan accused Bateman of “cherry picking” the numbers by focusing solely on the increase in staff that crossed the $100,000 threshold.

The 524 six-figure earners represent less than 10 per cent of TransLink’s total of 6,700 employees.

Overtime costs to call in front-line employees during incidents like major SkyTrain malfunctions and storms were the primary reason more staff collected $100,000 or more last year, Brennan said.

“Any time there’s a service disruption we have to bring in extra resources, put on buses and call in extra people to get them to work,” Brennan said.

Staff pay increases negotiated with unions were another factor lifting salaries.

But she insisted those have been modest, senior executive salaries have been frozen and the use of overtime was largely unavoidable.

“If you look at the total salary costs all across TransLink, it’s up around 3.9 per cent overall,” Brennan said. “We are watching every dollar very, very carefully.”

The disclosures show 57 of the $100,000-plus earners are Transit Police officers.

The CTF has repeatedly denounced the force as too expensive and called for it to be scrapped.

Bateman said TransLink continues to miss opportunities to contain costs, adding it could have held the line with unions in contract talks.

“They negotiated those contracts. Nobody holds a gun to anyone’s head.”

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

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows film premiere offers hope to people with learning disabilities

In Normal Isn’t Real four subjects who have learning disabilities and ADHD, share their success stories

Marching for those who’ve disappeared

Fifth annual event in Memorial Peace Park

Letter: Other cities have declared climate emergencies

Maple Ridge should do what’s right for our planet

Elementary students are hoping the city will recognize Real Acts of Caring week

Pitt Meadows students participate in Real Acts of Caring week

West Coast Express to resume after pipeline protests block rail tracks overnight

The demonstration was in support of Wet’suwet’en members who oppose Coastal GasLink

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citzensip, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Most Read