A bus driver at TransLink's new transit centre in Surrey.

Bus drivers okay brief cease fire in labour talks

One-year contract extension with TransLink half over

The threat of a strike disrupting bus service in Metro Vancouver has lifted – at least for now.

Unionized bus drivers and mechanics agreed to a temporary wage freeze when they ratified a one-year contract extension with TransLink last week.

But since the old contract expired in April, the extension is already half over and amounts to more of a cease fire than a lasting labour peace.

“We will be going back to the bargaining table soon and hope that when we do, the issue of sustainable funding for improving public transit, especially the overloaded bus system, has been resolved,” said Don MacLeod, president of local 111 of the Canadian Auto Workers.

The union represents 3,500 bus drivers and 900 mechanics at TransLink’s Coast Mountain Bus Co. subsidiary.

Members voted 59 per cent in favour of the contract extension.

Metro Vancouver mayors vote Oct. 7 on a transit expansion package that requires higher guaranteed revenue sources, including a two-cent gas tax hike and a property tax increase if necessary.

MacLeod said the union will step up campaigns this fall for more buses, including night buses.

The number of buses operating falls far short of demand, he said, adding more riders also want to take late-night routes in the wake of stiffer roadside penalties for drinking and driving.

Longer three-year agreements were signed earlier this year with unionized workers who run the Canada Line and other SkyTrain lines.

The SkyTrain contract gave rapid transit workers a three-per-cent pay hike in the first year. They get whatever bus drivers eventually negotiate for their second and third years.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta artist John Horton named to Order of British Columbia

Honour for significant contributions made to the appreciation and safety of B.C.’s coastal history

Man arrested in ‘after-hours club crackdown’ in Whalley, Surrey RCMP say

Police say they received information about clubs, parties ‘springing up’ at commercial properties

Former White Rock mayor, MP shares community connections via YouTube

Gordie Hogg aims to highlight those who’ve impacted South Surrey, White Rock

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read