Greater Vancouver bus strike not confirmed

Talks take place around the bargaining table on the eve of a potential strike

Discussions between Unifor and Translink are ongoing.
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By Steven Chang

updated Nov. 27, 2019, 8 a.m.

Unifor National President, Jerry Dias and the rest of the board has  come to a temporary agreement with CEO of TransLink, Kevin Desmond. A bus strike will not be imminent.  

Earlier Tuesday morning, Dias said he and the committee are representing the entire five thousand bus drivers in Vancouver.

“The board is here to settle, not here to fight,” Dias said.

If Unifor National and TransLink don’t come to a term of agreement by the end of the night, the Vancouver transit strike is set to start on the midnight of Nov. 27. The strike is set to last for three days. 

The head of TransLink, Desmond, did not answer any questions to media outlets at the press conference.

Desmond made a quick statement and left shortly after.

“All I have to say is I appreciate meeting with Mr. Dias. We had a good initial conversation and now we are breaking for lunch,” Desmond said.

During the press release, Dias said Toronto bus drivers are making $2.85 more per hour than what Vancouver bus drivers are currently earning.

Dias and the Unifor committee are bargaining for transit workers’ wages, safety standards and working conditions. 

“Nobody can work eight hours without a bathroom break and lunch break. These are basic needs we take for granted, but bus drivers don’t take them for granted,” Dias said.

A few hours into the negotiations from both sides, the TransLink spokesperson, Jill Drews spoke to the press, giving updates about the transit strike.

Drews said, during the strike, buses will no longer be operating, but other public transit systems such as the SkyTrain, Blue Bus in West Vancouver and the Langley Community Shuttle will be operating.

“The best advice I can give to the public is to make arrangements for ride shares and leaving early to avoid traffic,” Drews said.

 

 

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