The union representing more than 5,000 Metro Vancouver transit workers says it is launching a legal challenge against recent layoffs.
Unifor said in a statement Thursday says it will challenge the move, saying the Coast Mountain Bus Company, a TransLink subsidiary, breached the Labour Relations Code by laying off workers without giving 60-days’ notice. The union will seek to have the layoffs rescinded, or have workers paid during the 60 days.
TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said Monday that recent financial losses left the transit authority with no other option, adding that he expected affected employees would be recalled when regular operations resume.
In a virtual Translink Mayors’ Council meeting held Thursday, Desmond said TransLink’s projected revenue shortfall could top $680 million this year, and help is needed from senior levels of government.
TransLink Mayors’ Council Chair Jonathan Cote said he’ll be speaking to the House of Commons finance committee via teleconference on Thursday morning to call for emergency relief from the federal government.
“As we get into the June-July period, if partnerships with the provincial and federal government are not materializing, TransLink is still losing money each month and may be forced to consider even further, more dramatic cuts,” he said.
As for Unifor’s legal challenge, Cote says the Coast Mountain Bus Company believes it has followed the collective agreement and will respect the decision made by the labour relations board.
The union is urging its members to write to their member of parliament to demand emergency funds for public transit.
“Other critical transportation networks, such as airlines, have been granted access to federal subsidies,” Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle said in a statement.
“Let’s show essential services workers that we are committed to getting them to work safely and efficiently.”
Earlier this month, BC Ferries said it was rescinding temporary layoff notices “as an act of company support for our valuable employees at this uncertain time.”
— With files from Janet Brown and Amy JuddView link »