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Metro Vancouver bus, SeaBus workers vote in favour of strike mandate

A big shakeup to the morning commute as Metro Vancouver bus workers vote to walk off the job. But as Neetu Garcha reports, it won't happen right away.

The union that represents more than 5,000 Metro Vancouver transit workers has voted almost unanimously in favour of a 90-day strike mandate after an all-day vote in Surrey on Thursday.

Those ballots were tallied late Thursday night, and 99 per cent of those bus drivers, SeaBus operators and maintenance workers who voted cast their ballots in favour of strike action, which would happen within the next 90 days.

But any strike action won’t happen immediately.┬áThe union has to give its employer and the public 72 hours strike notice before walking off the job.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver bus, SeaBus workers to hold strike vote Oct. 10

Unifor locals 111 and 2200, which represent bus drivers, SeaBus operators and maintenance workers, say that talks with the Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), a subsidiary of TransLink, broke down last Thursday.

The union says workers have been without a contract since March 31 and are demanding better wages, benefits and working conditions.

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Greater Vancouver bus drivers threaten to strike
Greater Vancouver bus drivers threaten to strike

READ MORE: Blue Bus drivers in West Vancouver vote to strike

The union and the CMBC are expected to head back to the table for the next round of bargaining next Tuesday.

Unifor and the CMBC reached a three-year deal in summer 2016 after three months of labour uncertainty following a 98 per cent strike vote in April of that year.

If CMBC workers strike, it will be the first time since workers walked off the job during a four-month transit strike in 2001.