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Fraser Valley transit union and employer both agree to tentative deal

No timeline for when buses will get back on the road as parties agree to mediation recommendations
Fraser Valley-based First Transit transit workers voted 98 per cent in favour of job action following a strike vote on Dec. 19, 2022. They have been on strike now since March 20. (File photo)

The public transit strike that has kept Fraser Valley buses parked for 17 weeks could be over soon.

The employer and the union have now both said they will accept the recommendations of mediator Vince Ready, although the details of those recommendations have not been made public.

First Transit said Wednesday that they are “eager” for the strike to end and resume service to the affected communities — Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs and Hope.

“On this basis, the company is prepared to accept the recommendations of the special mediator’s report, so long as they are ratified by CUPE Local 561 members,” a statement from the company said. “Once more, we thank our customers for their patience and hope to see you onboard Fraser Valley Transit very soon.”

CUPE 561 announced on Tuesday they would accept Ready’s recommendations, and workers on the picket line in Hope expressed hope that they would be back to work soon under a stronger contract. Wednesday marked 122 days of full strike action, which began on March 20.

“As one of Canada’s most respected mediators, Vince Ready conducted a thorough and comprehensive review of the issues around this dispute. We want to thank him for the work he has done in bringing the parties together,” said Randy Kootte, president of CUPE 561.

Kootte said the union and the company will now sign a memorandum of settlement (MOS), after which CUPE 561 will meet with the membership to seek ratification. Picket lines will remain up until the MOS has been ratified.

There is no estimated date yet for restoration of transit services.

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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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