An overwhelming majority of Coast Mountain Bus Company employees voted in favour of a strike mandate on Thursday, with 99 per cent supporting the motion.
The vote was held after negotiations between Unifor locals 2200 and 111 – which represent 5,000 bus drivers, SeaBus operators and transit maintenance workers across Metro Vancouver – and the transit company broke down last week, according to a release from the union.
“Our members take the responsibility of providing safe, dependable public transporation seriously and they’re asking Coast Mountain to properly recognize the dedication and effort that the workers put in day in day out to properly deliver it,” said Unifor national president Jerry Dias in the release.
Union members have been working without a contract since March 31. According to the union, a significant increase in transit ridership has strained resources and eroded working conditions, leaving drivers overworked without proper break times between trips.
Talks with Coast Mountain, a subsidiary of TransLink, will resume on Oct. 15. Under the BC Labour Relations code, the strike mandate is in effect for 90 days and the union said it will provide a 72-hour notice of any strike action.
The last time that transit workers held a strike was in 2001, when they walked off the job for four months.