Fraser Valley-based First Transit bus drivers have voted 98 per cent in favour of job action following a strike vote on Dec. 19. (File photo)

Fraser Valley-based First Transit bus drivers have voted 98 per cent in favour of job action following a strike vote on Dec. 19. (File photo)

Fraser Valley transit drivers vote in favour of job action

98 per cent of members for job action, looking for improved wages, benefits and working conditions

Fraser Valley-based First Transit bus drivers have voted 98 per cent in favour of job action following a strike vote on Dec. 19.

CUPE 561 members conducted the vote after the negotiating parties reached an impasse and were far apart on wages, benefits and working conditions.

“We need to significantly narrow the gap with other drivers in the Lower Mainland, and that’s why we have taken this step,” stated CUPE 561 president Jane Gibbons. “Our members and their families have been pushed to the limit, and they need a lift.”

There are no immediate plans for job action and the parties are set to return to the bargaining table on Jan. 17, 2023.

“We know how important transit services are to the communities we serve, and we are hopeful that a fair deal can be reached at the table without service interruptions,” Gibbons added.

CUPE 561 represents 213 members who work for First Transit, (formerly First Canada). First Transit is a private, for-profit and foreign-owned sub-contractor of BC Transit that provides transit service throughout the Fraser Valley, extending to Burnaby.

The membership includes drivers, utility workers, bus washers, and mechanics. Drivers operate transit buses that include HandyDART.

RELATED: Bus routes being reintroduced for fall in Abbotsford and Mission

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