A Coast Mountain Bus Co. operator examines buses parked at the Surrey Transit Centre.

Transit contract avoids mid-referendum labour spat

Metro Vancouver bus drivers don't want to battle management heading into critical transit vote

TransLink’s unionized bus drivers, maintenance workers and SeaBus staff have agreed to a one-year contract extension with Coast Mountain Bus Co.

The 4,700 employees represented by Unifor locals 111 and 2200 must still ratify the deal, which gives them a 1.75 per cent pay hike next April.

The deal avoids the potential for labour conflict during an expected referendum next spring on new funding for transit expansion.

Nathan Woods, president of the bus drivers’ local, said the unions want to work with mayors, TransLink officials and other ‘yes’ side coalitions to win the referendum and protracted, difficult contract talks may have undermined that goal.

“We want to wipe that off the slate right now and not face that challenge as well as the transit referendum at the same time,” he said.

Since the province has yet to tell mayors which new tax sources it would allow or how much TransLink can raise, it’s difficult to assess TransLink’s spending limits, Woods added.

He said full buses are passing up riders at the curb and a failure to add more bus service will force more people into cars and result in declining ridership.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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