Gavin McGarrigle, the western regional director of Unifor, calls for the Coast Mountain Bus Company to up wages and improve break time for bus operators and maintenance workers. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Gavin McGarrigle, the western regional director of Unifor, calls for the Coast Mountain Bus Company to up wages and improve break time for bus operators and maintenance workers. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Bargaining to resume in Metro Vancouver transit strike as bus driver overtime ban looms

Both sides might be headed back to the table to prevent new overtime ban

Both sides in the Metro Vancouver transit dispute have said they will return to the bargaining table Wednesday in hopes of avoiding more job action.

The news came Tuesday after Unifor, which represents 5,000 transit workers, said bus drivers will begin refusing overtime on Friday if a deal is not reached.

Now in its 12th day, a uniform ban continues for bus drivers and an overtime ban for maintenance workers, resulting in several cancelled SeaBus trips every day. TransLink announced six Seabus cancellations for Tuesday.

Gavin McGarrigle, the western regional director of Unifor, said the bus driver overtime ban could disrupt 10 to 15 per cent of the system.

McGarrigle questioned why the Coast Mountain Bus Company had not “even moved a comma” in wage offers.

“Ticketed skilled trade workers with Red Seal qualifications are paid vastly different if they work on bus equipment instead of SkyTrain equipment,” he told a news conference at Unifor’s New Westminster headquarters.

He said the company has not explained why they compare TransLink and CMBC executive compensation to Toronto’s system, but won’t do the same for the workers.

Citing a photo circling on social media of a bus driver’s break room, McGarrigle said the microwave installed right near the toilet showed the poor working conditions and lack of break time that the union wants addressed.

TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews said the photo was of just a bathroom, and CMBC did not intend for it to be used as a place to prepare food.

“There are 53 ‘comfort stations’ around the [transit] system. Thirty-five of them are full on break rooms with kitchens. The rest of them are just bathrooms,” Drews said.

She confirmed that bus operators are able to access a full break room at least once during their route.

At an unrelated news conference in Richmond the same day, Premier John Horgan said he was “confident that the parties… understand that the travelling public would prefer to see free collective bargaining work. And that’s our position as well.”

READ MORE: Buses cancelled on busy routes in Metro Vancouver

READ MORE: TransLink disputes severity of bus delays caused by transit strike


@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

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue brought a man to safety, and awaiting paramedics, after a 20-foot fall down an embankment on Jan. 23, 2020, on Harrison West Forest Service Road. (Kent Harrison Search and Rescue photo)
Rescue crew lifts man up 20-foot embankment near Harrison Lake

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue says this is the fifth call already this year

A mallard duck swims through Salish Pond in Chilliwack on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Snow, rain in forecast for Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley has been treated to more than a week of mostly sunny weather, but it’s about to end

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment, hits milestones in break-out year

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Most Read