SkyTrain workers have decided to begin full strike action on December 10 after negotiations between their union and employer failed to reach an agreement this morning.
The strike will include a full system shutdown of the SkyTrain beginning at 5 a.m. on December and resuming at 5 a.m. on December 13.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 700, which represents approximately 900 SkyTrain workers in Metro Vancouver, had been engaged in collective bargaining with their employer, BC Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC), for almost 50 days.
This announcement comes after the union issued a 72-hour strike notice on December 6, after negotiations failed to make progress on key issues.
In a media release, CUPE 7000 President Tony Rebelo said he’s hopeful the parties can come to a deal before Tuesday morning’s planned job action to avoid service disruptions.
“We understand that this is a massive action that will cause a great deal of inconvenience to our passengers, which is why we hope we can still reach an agreement before Tuesday morning,” said Rebelo.
In a statement, BCRTC President Michel Ladrak said BCRTC was “extremely disappointed” with the union's announcement and hoped continued negotiations would see the parties come to an agreement.
“It is completely unacceptable the union has chosen to use the 150,000 people who use the Expo and Millennium Lines each weekday as leverage,” reads Ladrak's statement.
“BCRTC remains committed to getting a deal done. We will continue bargaining until the last moment to avoid this unnecessary and disruptive job action.”
Potential job action would only affect Expo and Millenium Lines, which see an average of around 380,000 boardings each weekday, according to a report from The Vancouver Sun.
The last time a full system shutdown of SkyTrain services took place was more than 20 years ago. If potential job action does go ahead, it would be in the midst of UBC and other Vancouver universities’ exam seasons.
UBC confirmed they would continue to update students, staff and faculty who could be affected by the strike action through notifications on the university's website.
This is an evolving story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
This article has been updated to include comments from UBC.