Transit job action enters 2nd week with union, bus company back at bargaining table

Transit workers across Metro Vancouver are officially entering their second week of job action, bringing half a dozen more SeaBus cancellations and dips in bus service across the region.

The cancelled SeaBus sailings for Thursday are as follows:

  • The 4:10 p.m., 7:32 p.m. and 8:47 p.m. sailings from Lonsdale Quay.
  • The 4:25 p.m., 7:46 p.m. and 9:01 p.m. sailings from Waterfront.

There aren't any bus routes cancelled outright Thursday, but several circuits are seeing sporadic delays with buses coming less frequently because of workers' ban on overtime.

The ban is to blame for days of scattered bus delays and dozens of SeaBus route cancellations between Vancouver and the North Shore since job action began Nov. 1.

Unifor, the union representing 5,000 transit workers in the region, said it went back to the bargaining table with Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) for the first time in two weeks Wednesday. CMBC handles bus services on behalf of TransLink.

Ben Nelms/CBC

Those negotiations broke off for the night late Wednesday. Talks are set to resume Thursday morning, one day before the union said disruptions would ramp up in the absence of a deal.

Bus drivers will begin refusing overtime Friday if an agreement can't be reached, according to Unifor, which could affect 10 to 15 per cent of Metro Vancouver's bus service.

Separate SkyTrain negotiations crumble

SkyTrain has been unaffected by the job action, but disruptions to the rapid-transit service are entering the realm of possibility after negotiations in a separate dispute with another union fell apart.

CUPE 7000, the union representing about 900 SkyTrain workers, said talks with the TransLink-owned B.C. Rapid Transit Company collapsed Wednesday.

The two parties were unable to reach agreement on several key issues, including wages, staffing levels and forced overtime. 

So far, CUPE 7000 president Tony Rebelo said there is still no impact on SkyTrain service but bargaining will need to resume to avoid service interruptions.