Union and employers to resume negotiations as Sea-to-Sky transit strike enters 14th week

·2 min read
Workers are pictured at the picket line during the Sea-to-Sky transit strike in Whistler. The employers will resume negotiations with the striking employees on Wednesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Workers are pictured at the picket line during the Sea-to-Sky transit strike in Whistler. The employers will resume negotiations with the striking employees on Wednesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Striking transit employees in B.C.'s Sea-to-Sky region just north of Metro Vancouver have agreed to return to the negotiating table with their employers in an attempt to resolve a work stoppage entering its 14th week.

More than 80 workers, who are unionized with Unifor Local 114, have been on strike since Jan. 29 in the region which includes Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish.

The workers are seeking wage parity with drivers in Metro Vancouver, and better benefits, as residents of the region grapple with rising housing prices and a spiking cost of living.

"Transit workers have demonstrated incredible determination over the last three months," said Gavin McGarrigle, western regional director for Unifor, in a statement. "We will enter these new negotiations in good faith and will continue to bargain for fair compensation."

Workers will resume negotiations with their employer Pacific Western Transportation, a contractor of B.C. Transit, on Wednesday, according to the statement.

"The company understands the enormous impact this strike has had on the residents of Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton, especially all those who rely on public transit on a daily basis," a statement from Pacific Western said.

"We are hopeful these meetings will result in a fair and reasonable agreement so our employees return to work serving the Sea-to-Sky communities."

Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

The talks will be held alongside a mediator, Dave Schaub, with this being the first time the striking workers and employers have met in more than a month.

Only HandyDART service — public transport meant for disabled people and older people who require mobility aids — has run in the region during the last three months.

The strike was impacting low-wage workers, parents and students in the region, but most of the residents CBC News spoke to in April expressed sympathy for the drivers in the dispute.

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