Sunday, April 21, 2024

Vancouver bus services screech to a halt as union fights for better wages

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As of yesterday, all local bus operations have halted in and around Vancouver due to a strike.

The Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), who run TransLink and employ all bus and SeaBus employees in Greater Vancouver. 

There, they are in charge of bus commutes between 8,360 bus stops, 22 rectifier stations, 10,700 trolley line poles, 320 kms of trolley line as well as 100 bus exchanges. 

As of Monday, January 22nd, many of the nearly 6,000 employees have halted operations while their union continues to negotiate with the CMBC. 

Their union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 4500, was in a mediation process with the CMBC but could not reach an agreement on behalf of the company’s supervisors. 

Thus, the employees ceased operations in favour of a strike that is to last 48-hours. 

“With the help of our mediator, CUPE 4500 put in an honest effort to find some common ground with Coast Mountain. But we are still not near where we need to be in addressing our key issues,” said Liam O’Neill, spokesperson for CUPE 4500. 

The supervisors are seeking wage discrepancies to be closed between them and other transit supervisors, who reportedly make considerably more do, and they want “critical workload issues” to be addressed by management.

Picket lines are now set up at CMBC Transit Centres in Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam and the SeaBus North Vancouver Terminal.

If the supervisors stay true to the parameters of their 48-hour service suspension brought on by the strike, bus and SeaBus service will resume at 3 a.m. on Wednesday, January 24th. 

“CUPE 4500 members are proud of the job we do for our passengers,” says O’Neill.

“Like them, our families and friends depend on transit too. We regret these disruptions and the challenges this will cause for the people we serve every day, but Coast Mountain could have avoided this. Instead, they put us, and, through their inflexibility, transit users, in this situation.”

According to the CMBC, the SkyTrain, HandyDART, West Coast Express, West Vancouver Blue Bus, Bowen Island Community Shuttles and Langley Community Shuttles are not affected by this endeavour. 

Those traveling from Victoria to Vancouver via BC Ferries should make alternative travel arrangements if using the bus.

BC Ferries has issued a travel advisory to customers warning that the strike impacts transit fully or partially to its ferry terminals.

“Bus service to and from Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal is unavailable as of 3 a.m. Monday, January 22nd, due to an ongoing transit labour dispute between Coast Mountain Bus Company and CUPE Local 4500,” states the notice.

“Customers should plan ahead for alternative transportation options.”

mm
Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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