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Metro Vancouver transit strike: More SeaBus cancellations on Monday

Click to play video: 'Metro Vancouver transit strike enters day 5, more delays for SeaBus passengers' Metro Vancouver transit strike enters day 5, more delays for SeaBus passengers
We are now into day 5 of the Metro Vancouver transit strike with no end in sight. Jennifer Palma is covering that story with some bad news for users of the SeaBus – Nov 5, 2019

The Metro Vancouver transit strike continues Monday with more SeaBus cancellations.

The union representing 5,000 bus operators, SeaBus operators and maintenance workers says there are fewer spare buses, which could mean significant delays by Wednesday as the job action drags on.

SeaBus trips have also been reduced as maintenance workers decline to take on any overtime work.

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“We don’t want to inconvenience the public, but the company needs to understand: this system cannot continue to run on overtime,” Unifor Local 2200 president Mike Smith said. “We want to hire more people, but in order to get those people, we need to pay a fair and equitable wage for trades in Vancouver.”

The following six Monday sailings have been cancelled:

Lonsdale Quay
• 4:10 p.m.
• 6:20 p.m.
• 7:30 p.m.

Waterfront station
• 4:25 p.m.
• 6:35 p.m.
• 7:45 p.m.

The union began job action on Friday morning, saying CMBC is refusing to meet its demands for a new contract, including increased wages and better working conditions.

No new talks are planned, but CMBC president Michael McDaniel said Sunday that the offer on the table is a fair one.

READ MORE: Bus company head says pay cut would not help end Metro Vancouver transit strike

“The best way to stop the job action … is to get back to the table so we can actually finish this deal,” McDaniel said. “That’s what commuters want.”

Mayors’ Council Chair Jonathan Cote said Monday he believes CMBC employees deserve a fair settlement and is urging both sides to get back to the bargaining table.

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In a statement, Cote said he is disappointed to hear suggestions from Unifor that their wage demands could be met by scaling back on the Mayors’ Council 10-year plan to bolster the region’s transit system.

“Scaling back transit expansion in this region is completely off the table,” he said. “With North American-leading ridership growth, a climate emergency and growing road congestion, now is not the time to slow down transit improvements. Cutting the funding used to buy additional buses and hire more bus drivers will also do nothing to improve the working conditions of our valuable transit operators.”

Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle said the union has always supported transit expansion and believes TransLink is “misleading the public.”
“We believe they’re trying to scare the public. The list that I saw last week was that every single project that they had planned in the next number of years was somehow going to be impacted if they treated the drivers fairly. We just don’t buy that.”

— With files from Sean Boynton

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