April 28, 2016 9:43 am
Updated: April 29, 2016 2:15 am

Vancouver bus drivers and Sea Bus operators vote 98% in favour of a strike mandate

WATCH: Over 4000 Lower Mainland transit operators are casting strike vote ballots today. As Grace Ke reports, the workers are negotiating wage, benefit and working conditions with Coast Mountain.

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Hoping to put pressure on the Coast Mountain Bus Company, bus drivers, SeaBus operators and other Metro Vancouver transit workers have voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike mandate.

Two unions representing 4,700 transit operators, skilled trade workers and support staff say a successful strike vote is what is needed in order to get a fair contract.

Negotiations between the unions and Coast Mountain Bus Company, which is part of TransLink, began Feb. 17 and broke down April 6.

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Unifor Local 111 president Nathan Woods said the main issues for workers are wages, benefits and working conditions.

“We’re seeing a system deteriorate out there and we want to make some improvements,” Woods said.

One main improvement Woods said they would like to see if a better quality of life while on the job.

Despite the strike vote, service will not be impacted immediately. Wood said the two unions would get back together and strategize on next steps.

Woods hopes by calling for a strike vote, it would bring the company back to the bargaining table.

In a statement, the Coast Mountain Bus Company said they remained committed to a negotiated settlement.

“While the result of the strike vote was a “yes,” the union has not given any indication of providing strike notice and we don’t anticipate any disruption to service at this time,” they wrote.

~ with files from Canadian Press

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