No job action as Canada Line workers reach tentative agreement

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The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, which represents 182 Canada Line workers, announced Tuesday afternoon that a tentative deal had been reached with the line's private operator Protrans.

The Canada Line is a 19 kilometre rail-based rapid transit system that connects downtown Vancouver to central Richmond and the Vancouver International Airport.

There had been concerns that transit users would face delays if a deal wasn't reached and job action went into effect.

However, the union's president Stephanie Smith announced Tuesday that after 40 hours of negotiations since Sunday, an agreement had been reached.

"Our members' goal has always been to get a fair contract at the bargaining table," said Smith.

Workers had been asking for wage parity with SkyTrain workers who make three per cent more in wages and for sick days to be increased from four days to eight a year.

Richmond based Protrans also issued a statement confirming the negotiation of a tentative agreement.

"Canada Line passengers can expect services to continue as usual now that a strike has been averted," it said.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond called the deal good news for transit users.

"I'm happy to see an agreement reached without any impact on our customers during this critical time," said Desmond.

The BCGEU says workers had been without a contract for 13 months after their contract expired in December 2019.

According to the union, details of the deal are not going to be released publicly until members of the bargaining unit have voted to ratify the terms.