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SkyTrain workers’ union gives leadership overwhelming strike mandate

SkyTrain employees have voted in favour of job action if negotiators are unable to secure an agreement.

The union representing Metro Vancouver’s 900 SkyTrain employees has voted overwhelmingly to give its leadership a strike mandate amid stalled contract negotiations.

It represents the latest labour trouble in the TransLink system, where bus drivers and SeaBus operators are planning a three-day system-wide shutdown next week.

READ MORE: Transit Strike Day 21: Both sides dig in as system-wide shutdown looms

In a media release, CUPE Local 7000 said members had voted 96.8 per cent in favour of job action if negotiators are unable to secure a “fair and equitable agreement” with their employer, TransLink subsidiary BC Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC).

Bargaining with SkyTrain workers break down
Bargaining with SkyTrain workers break down

“This vote demonstrates that our members are deeply concerned that the company has not addressed our key issues at the table,” said CUPE 7000 president Tony Rebelo.

“It also reflects the frustration that many SkyTrain workers feel about how long the process has taken, after more than 40 sessions at the table.”

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Premier John Horgan weighs in on Metro Vancouver transit strike
Premier John Horgan weighs in on Metro Vancouver transit strike

Both sides are scheduled to sit down for eight days of mediation starting Nov. 28.

“Mediation is a very important and productive way for parties to resolve their differences in any labour negotiation,” said BCRTC president Michel Ladrak in a statement.

“While CUPE 7000 members have passed a vote which gives them the option of taking job action, at this time the union has not given any indication of providing a strike notice.  There is currently no disruption to SkyTrain service.”

READ MORE: SkyTrain workers’ union calls strike vote amid stalled contract negotiations

If job action does take place, it will not affect the Canada Line, which is operated independently of SkyTrain.

Global News has requested comment from TransLink and BCRTC.