SkyTrain union says three-day shutdown will begin Tuesday

Marco Green
December 10, 2019

CUPE 7000, the union representing 900 SkyTrain workers, has issued a 72-hour strike notice to the B.C. Rapid Transit Company.

"We are still committed to reaching an agreement at the table, and our committee will make itself available day and night, over the weekend, to reach a fair deal without any interruption of service", said CUPE 7000 president Tony Rebelo.

Rebelo says the union and its employer have been at the bargaining table or in mediation for nearly 50 days after the last contract expired August 31.

The union says the decision to follow with a strike came after "no significant progress had been made".

"British Columbia Rapid Transit Company is extremely disappointed the union representing about 900 of its employees has chose to take the drastic step of a full strike beginning Tuesday morning".

The strike will include a full system shutdown of the SkyTrain beginning at 5 a.m. on December and resuming at 5 a.m. on December 13. "It is completely unacceptable the union has chosen to use the 150,000 people who use the Expo and Millennium Lines each weekday as leverage", he said.

"Canada Line, West Coast Express, bus, SeaBus and HandyDART services will operate as normal".

The parties are still in bargaining, but the union says it will provide an update on its job action plan at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Potential job action would only affect Expo and Millenium Lines, which see an average of around 380,000 boardings each weekday, according to a report from The Vancouver Sun.

For SkyTrain workers, staffing levels in the operations department and wages are big concerns.

The union, which has been without a contract since the end of August, held a strike vote on November 21, where members gave the leadership a 96.8 per cent strike mandate.

The announcement of a work stoppage comes two days after Unifor - the union representing 5,000 bus, SeaBus and maintenance workers - ratified a new contract with the Coast Mountain Bus Company.

The last time a full system shutdown of SkyTrain services took place was more than 20 years ago.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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