Coast Mountain Bus Company, transit union return to bargaining table

Depending on whether the parties are able to reach an agreement, a new round of negotiations this week could determine the future of the transit strike.

After 12 days of official strike action, Unifor — the union that represents more than 5,000 bus, SeaBus and maintenance workers, and their employer Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) — a TransLink subsidiary, will return to the bargaining table.

TransLink had been calling on Unifor to return to negotiations, which the union broke off earlier in October. So far the union’s job action has included an overtime ban for maintenance workers, while operators have also been working without wearing their uniforms.

The strike action has mainly impacted SeaBus sailings, with 14 cancellations on Monday, November 11 alone. TransLink also noted that job action resulted in a decrease in frequency for the number 25 bus.

While the parties have agreed to return to negotiations, Unifor stated in a media release that inaction from CMBC could lead to further job action by the end of the week in the form of more overtime bans.

“We are prepared to work very hard to reach a fair agreement and sincerely hope the company is not playing games when it asks us to return to the table,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor western regional director, in the release.

In an official statement, CMBC President Michael McDaniel said CMBC plans to bargain in good faith.

“We are encouraged by this development and look forward to reaching an agreement which works for all parties involved,” said McDaniel.

Meanwhile, UBC has been posting updates on its website advising students, staff and faculty to plan for a possibly longer commute than usual.

This is a breaking story and will be updated if more information is released.