Transit shutdown avoided as union, employer reach tentative deal

Photo: Rob Kruyt

With negotiations going down to the wire, the union representing Metro Vancouver transit workers and Coast Mountain Bus Company came to a tentative agreement early Wednesday morning (November 27), averting a three-day shut down of bus and SeaBus service.

The last-minute talks started Tuesday afternoon, just hours before the Unifor’s deadline of midnight Wednesday to start a three-day shut down of bus and SeaBus service.

At the last minute, the union extended the deadline until 12:30 a.m.

The job action started November 1 with an overtime ban for maintenance employees and a driver uniform ban.

After two weeks and no progress in negotiations, the union extended the overtime to include bus drivers.

Since the beginning of November, hundreds of SeaBus sailings have been cancelled, and an untold number of bus routes have been affected.

The Business Council of B.C. cautioned the day before the deal was reached that a shutdown could drag down an already slowing provincial economy.

Ian Tostenson, head of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, also expressed concerns that establishments would have to adjust hours as workers struggled to make it into work.

He said that in some extreme cases businesses would have to close.

In the event the shutdown had extended beyond three day, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade CEO Bridgitte Anderson said the ramifications would have been “quite significant.”

—With files from Tyler Orton

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