(Surrey Now-Leader file photo)

SkyTrain strike to begin Tuesday with ‘full shutdown’, CUPE says

BCRTC president says job action is ‘completely unacceptable’ to use SkyTrain users ‘as leverage’

CUPE 7000 has announced a SkyTrain strike with a “full shutdown,” beginning Tuesday morning (Dec. 10).

The local union issued the 72-hour strike notice Friday afternoon (Dec. 6) after four days of mediated talks with B.C. Rapid Transit Company and “no significant progress was made on key issues,” according to a release Saturday (Dec. 7).

READ ALSO: CUPE issues 72-hour strike notice for SkyTrain, Dec. 6, 2019

The system shutdown, CUPE 7000 says, will begin at 5 a.m. on Tuesday and regular service will resume on Friday at 5 a.m.

“We understand that this is a massive action that will cause a great deal of inconvenience to our passengers, which is why we hope we can still reach an agreement before Tuesday morning,” said CUPE 7000 president Tony Rebelo. “We have been either at the table or in mediation for almost 50 days now, so it’s time to get a deal done.”

A statement from BCRTC president Michel Ladrak Saturday states that the company is “extremely disappointed” that the union has decided to take “the drastic step” of a full strike.

“It is completely unacceptable the union has chosen to use the 150,000 people who use the Expo and Millenium lines each weekday as leverage.”

Ladrak also said that BCRTC “remains committed” to getting a deal done, and will continue bargaining “until the last moment to avoid this unnecessary and disruptive job action.”

CUPE 7000 represents approximately 900 SkyTrain workers who provide service as SkyTrain attendants and control operators as well as administration, maintenance, and technical staff.

The last contract expired on August 31, 2019.

On Nov. 21, CUPE 7000 members voted 96.8 per cent in favour of a strike.

READ ALSO: SkyTrain workers vote in 96.8% in favour of job action, union says, Nov. 21, 2019

The last SkyTrain strike was a single day shutdown more than twenty years ago, according to the release.

A strike would not affect the Canada Line.

It also won’t affect the West Coast Express, bus, SeaBus and Handy DART service.

BCRTC is also working with TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company to “secure” additional bus service on existing routes, “but customers should consider alternate arrangements should a full strike proceed.”

This comes two days after bus and SeaBus workers voted in favour of a new three-year deal with Coast Mountain Bus Company, following job action in late November.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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