Transit operators in Metro Vancouver will begin job action by working out of uniform by the end of the week, if their union cannot reach a deal with the Coast Mountain Bus Company.
On Thursday, Unifor said the drivers who operate TransLink buses, Seabus and SkyTrain will wear clothes other than their uniforms, while maintenance workers will not work overtime.
“It is a strange experience to see an operator out of uniform, and we hope that starts conversations with the passengers about our struggle with this employer to get a fair deal,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor western regional director and lead negotiator.
Said Unifor Local 2200 president Mike Smith: “The system has normalized overtime, so without it, the turnaround for repairs and other maintenance will build up quickly. We trust that Translink will not put unsafe vehicles back on the road, so it is a question of fewer vehicles available in the system.”
TransLink said that SkyTrain, Canada Line, West Coast Express, HandyDART, West Vancouver Blue Bus and other contracted services will be unaffected by the job action.
Coast Mountain president Michael McDaniel said the employer is negotiating in good faith and making “fair and reasonable offers.”
“If the union proceeds with job action, it will only punish transit users in Metro Vancouver, many of whom rely on our system for their daily commute,” McDaniel said, adding the union has declined third-party mediation.
Talks are expected to continue into Thursday evening, ahead a strike deadline of Friday at 8 a.m.