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

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Delta Police dog retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Police on the scene of a homicide in South Surrey’s Morgan Heights neighbourhood earlier this month. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Crime Stoppers received more than 500 tips related to gang activity in 2020: report

Metro Vancouver organization “urging local residents to keep providing anonymous tips”

In 2017, a member of the Disneyana Fan Club curated a small Community Treasures exhibit at the Museum of Surrey about the early days of Disney and the cartoonist Walt Disney. The museum is now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibition. (Photo: Submitted)
Museum of Surrey wants to spotlight local organizations and clubs

Museum now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibit

An electric vehicle charging station in front of Hope’s municipal hall, district hall. (Photo: Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
40 electric vehicle charging stations planned for Surrey

Funding coming from all three levels of government

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)
B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

People wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 walk past a window display at a store in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, December 13, 2020. The association representing businesses across Metro Vancouver says the costs of COVID-19 continue to mount for its members.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Greater Vancouver business organization says members face uncertain outlook in 2021

Many Greater Vancouver businesses are barely treading water as they enter 2021

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

Abbotsford’s Canwest Aero Inc. is offering two pilot training scholarships to celebrate the company’s opening at the Abbotsford International Airport
Abbotsford aviation company offering two free pilot scholarships

Canwest Aero Inc. giving away pair of scholarships valued at $2,500 each

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

Most Read