The B.C. Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) has issued a 72-hour strike notice to Protrans BC, operator of the Canada Line as of 4:00 p.m. today. This move follows four days of mediation last week and several months of negotiations in which no significant progress was made on three main issues: wage parity, improved sick leave and contract length.
For the past year, Canada Line workers have made extraordinary efforts on the front lines to keep transit running during the COVID-19 pandemic. These members are asking for their hard work to be recognized through wage parity with other SkyTrain workers and improvements to sick leave because as the pandemic has boldly highlighted, everyone's health and well-being depends on workers being able to stay home when they are sick.
"This dispute is about frontline workers fighting for the respect and support they deserve," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "The bottom line is our members are demanding fair compensation, meaningful sick benefits, and basic respect from their employer for the vital services they've provided to our communities, especially during the pandemic."
Union members remain dedicated to reaching an agreement at the bargaining table without any disruption to service. To that end another bargaining date has been set for Sunday January 31 and the union will be working hard to reach a deal and avoid a strike.
"Our members do not want to go on strike, they want to keep working and serving the public as they have done every day since their contract expired in December 2019," says Smith. "What our members want is a fair contract. We know the bargaining table is the best way to get there and we are willing to use every minute of the next 72 hours to get that done. If those efforts fail, our members are prepared to take the next step."
In November Canada Line workers voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action. These members have been working without a contract since December 31, 2019 and have been bargaining since February 2020 for a fair agreement.
The BCGEU represents about 180 workers at the Canada Line which is privately operated by Protrans BC Operations Ltd. and owned by the multinational SNC-Lavalin.
For more information contact: BCGEU [email protected]
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