Canada Line workers issue 72 hour strike notice

Click to play video: 'BCGEU issues 72-hour strike notice for Metro Vancouver’s Canada Line' BCGEU issues 72-hour strike notice for Metro Vancouver’s Canada Line
The union representing Canada Line workers has issued strike notice. Our Jordan Armstrong joins us from outside the Olympic Village station in Vancouver with more details. – Jan 29, 2021

Canada Line workers have issued a 72-hour strike notice, citing no significant progress made on wage parity, improved sick leave and contract length.

Protrans BC, the operator of the Canada Line, was notified by the BC Government & Service Employee’s Union at 4 p.m. on Friday.

The move follows four days of mediation last week and several months of negotiations.

“It doesn’t necessarily [mean] that within 72 hours there will be picket lines at various Canada Line stations,” BCGEU president Stephanie Smith said.

“It could take on a number of different forms, but at this point, we’re still looking for a negotiated settlement.”

Read more: Metro Vancouver’s Canada Line adds first 4 of dozen new trains, boosting service

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The union said that for the past year, Canada Line workers have made extraordinary efforts on the front lines to keep transit running during the pandemic.

The members are asking for their hard work to be recognized through wage parity with other SkyTrain workers and improvements to sick leave.

“This has been a really big issue, and I think the pandemic has really shone a spotlight on the fact that people need adequate sick days so that they don’t go to work sick,” she said.

The Canada Line is privately operated by Protrans BC and owned by the multinational SNC Lavalin.

The 180 members voted 97.6 per cent in favour of a strike if needed.

“It means they’re strong, they’re solid, they’re ready to do what they need to do to get a fair collective agreement,” Smith added.

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TransLink announces expansion of Canada Line service – Jan 21, 2020

At the same time, Smith said members are dedicated to reaching an agreement at the bargaining table without any disruption to service.  Another bargaining date has been set for Sunday, Jan. 31.

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“They’re simply asking for parity, it’s not outrageous,” she said.

“I have no idea why they continue to say no at this time, but…while there are still talks there’s still hope.”

Transit users are asked to watch the BCGEU website for updates.

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