Transit workers announce 72-hour strike notice

Tuesday, October 29, 1:26 p.m.: This story was updated to include statements from UBC.

Monday, October 28, 6:45 p.m.: This story was updated to include statements from the Coast Mountain Bus Company.

If an agreement is not reached in three days, transit services could be disrupted.

Negotiations between Unifor Local 111 and 2200 — the unions that represent more than 5,000 bus, SeaBus and maintenance workers — and the Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), a subsidiary of TransLink, broke down earlier this month.

After Unifor members voted 99 per cent in favour of a strike mandate on October 10, the unions have now served a 72-hour strike notice.

According to a media release by Unifor, the strike action would take effect if the parties fail to reach an agreement within 72 hours. The precise form of strike action is yet to be determined, but it could involve a rolling strike or work-to-rule action.

Some of the key issues that negotiations were attempting to address include working hours, wages and break times in between trips. Transit workers have also been working without a contract since March 31, 2019.

“It’s not hard to understand what is happening here. The company is showing little respect for the difficult working conditions that our members must face every day,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias in a Unifor Press Release.

“CMBC remains committed to reaching an acceptable negotiated settlement and is ready to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible,” wrote CMBC in a statement to The Ubyssey.

According to a notice posted on UBC’s website, the university will continue to operate as normal and classes will not be cancelled even if transit services are disrupted.

“Classes will proceed and faculty and staff will be expected to attend work,” reads the statement.

The UBC notice also outlines several alternative options for students, staff and faculty who commute by public transit to campus including carpool resources and cycling as well as telecommuting guidelines.

“Many students, faculty and staff rely on public transit and we appreciate a potential disruption will be challenging,” reads the notice.

For students worried about arriving late or being unable to commute to class, the notice encourages students to contact their instructors or the various academic advising offices. The notice also directs staff and faculty who are worried about arriving late to work to contact their supervisors or department heads.

UBC stated previously that because of “financial, logistical and labour constraints,” the university would be unable to provide commuters with alternative transportation.

The deadline for an agreement is Thursday, October 31 at midnight.

This is a breaking news article that will be updated as more information is released.