It’s official, there will be no bus strike in the Lower Mainland.
Metro Vancouver bus drivers and transit workers have voted 82% in favour of a tentative contract with the Coast Mountain Bus Company.
Unifor BC area director Gavin McGarrigle says about a third of the 4,700 workers represented by Unifor 111 and 2200 turned out to cast a ballot.
The deal includes a pay hike and other improvements, and the union says it made no concessions.
McGarrigle says the three year collective agreement includes increases to wages and shift premiums.
“One of the key points was making sure there was no concessions, the workers didn’t want to move backwards. On top of that, we wanted to make sure we made some gains in wages, benefits and working conditions, we felt we did that and negotiated a comprehensive package.”
The deal includes wage increases of 0.5% and 1.3% cent in each year with a further “skilled trades adjustment” of 1.3% in 2018.
McGarrigle says wage and premium increases were hot button issues.
“Percentages are in line with the provincial pattern out there. There was some premium increases that were outside of that, some benefit increases, we increased the chiropractor coverage, the pychologist coverage. Some adjustments for our skilled trade members because it’s always hard to retain those skilled trades.”
Controversial “Sunday premiums” will also not be affected.
Operators’ shift premium will increase by 30 cents over the agreement while premiums and safety equipment allowances will rise for maintenance and SeaBus workers.
There are also new commitments on compressed work weeks and recovery time.
Back in April, workers voted overwhelmingly to give the union a strike mandate, stoking fears the region could see a repeat of 2001’s crippling transit strike.
That job action lasted four months, ending only when the province stepped in to legislate a contract.