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Metro Vancouver SkyTrain workers issue 72-hour strike notice

Skytrain workers union issues 72-hour strike notice
Just days after a strike by bus and SeaBus drivers ended, the union representing SkyTrain workers has issued 72-hour strike notice. Nadia Stewart has the details.

The union representing 900 Metro Vancouver SkyTrain workers has issued 72-hour strike notice.

CUPE Local 7000 says after four days of mediation with TransLink’s BC Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC) “no significant progress was made on the key issues.”

“We are still committed to reaching an agreement at the table, and our committee will make itself available day and night, over the weekend, to reach a fair deal without any interruption of service,” said CUPE 7000 President Tony Rebelo in a statement.

Breaking: SkyTrain workers issue 24-hour strike notice
Breaking: SkyTrain workers issue 24-hour strike notice

“We will need to work very hard to reach a deal that addresses our concerns about wages, forced overtime, staffing levels and trades adjustment language, among other issues.”

In a statement, BCRTC president Michel Ladrak said the union has not told the employer what form job action would take.

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READ MORE: Metro Vancouver transit workers approve new contract deal, officially ending job dispute

“While we are disappointed by this development, BCRTC and CUPE will continue bargaining throughout the weekend,” said Ladrak.

“We are hopeful and committed to reaching a fair deal without disrupting the valuable service we provide to the region.”

CUPE 7000 confirmed that despite the strike notice, bargaining is ongoing.

900 SkyTrain employees vote in favour of strike mandate
900 SkyTrain employees vote in favour of strike mandate

It says it will issue an update on its planned job action Saturday at 11 a.m.

The union, which has been without a contract since the end of August, held a strike vote on Nov. 21, where members gave the leadership a 96.8 per cent strike mandate.

Any job action would not affect the Canada Line, which is operated independently of the SkyTrain system.

READ MORE: SkyTrain workers union, TransLink staying silent amid mediated contract talks

The strike notice comes just one day after Unifor, the union representing 5,000 bus, SeaBus and maintenance workers, ratified a new contract with the Coast Mountain Bus Company.

That deal gave a workers retroactive two per cent pay bump for work dating back from Dec. 5, 2019 to April 1, 2020.

Drivers will then get a one per cent raise for work up until April 1, 2020, while maintenance workers will see their pay rise by $1.95 per hour to achieve parity with SkyTrain maintenance workers.

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After that, operators will see a three per cent raise in each of the next two years. Maintenance workers will earn two per cent raises each of those years, also achieving parity with SkyTrain.

The deal between Unifor and the Coast Mountain Bus Company came at the 11th hour, after three weeks of job action by workers and 30 minutes after a deadline that could have seen workers walk off the job for three days, paralyzing the Metro Vancouver transit system.