SkyTrain strike averted as parties reach tentative agreement

A last-minute deal, between the SkyTrain workers’ union and their employer, has prevented a three-day strike that was scheduled to begin today at 5 a.m.

The SkyTrain workers’ union, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 7000 and their employer, BC Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC) bargained right until the shutdown of the Millenium and Expo Lines was scheduled to begin. The parties reached a tentative agreement just before 5 a.m.

“Both parties worked long and hard throughout the weekend, Monday, and in to Tuesday morning to get this deal done,” said CUPE 7000 President Tony Rebelo in a media release.

“Now it's up to the members to ratify this agreement, which I can strongly recommend.”

The parties had been engaged in collective bargaining since the last contract expired in August of this year. The approximately 900 SkyTrain workers represented by CUPE 7000 include control operators, maintenance, administrative and technical staff.

“This is great news for our customers who depend on our services,” said BCRTC President Michel Ladrak in a press release.

“There will be some delays in the start of service on the Expo and Millennium Line this morning. I thank all of our customers and staff for their patience through this uncertain time.”

This deal comes after Metro Vancouver bus, SeaBus and maintenance workers also ratified a collective agreement with their employer Coast Mountain Bus Company, to prevent a planned three-day full system shutdown.

The strike was scheduled to begin in the middle of UBC’s exam season. The university issued notifications on its website notifying students, staff and faculty that exams and business operations would continue as planned if the strike went ahead.

Now that the strike has been averted the parties will work to ratify the agreement in the following days.