The Union for Blue Bus drivers and mechanics say they have returned to contract talks this afternoon as the strike continues.
They will meet with the District of West Vancouver without a mediator.
Talks broke down over the weekend leading to a walk-off of about 150 workers Monday morning.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 134 Spokesperson Bill Tieleman says he is disappointed the full scale strike will affect 18,000 passenger trips a day.
“We’ve done everything we can to not have a service disruption, we’ve gone back to talks repeatedly, we’ve only implemented an overtime ban to this point. But we ultimately have to put pressure on the employer and we would ask our riders to call West Vancouver city council members and tell them that they are very unhappy that there is no transit system and why are they the only holdouts in British Columbia.”
In a statement, President and Business Agent of the ATU Local 134 says “We are extremely disappointed and extremely frustrated with West Vancouver District being the only municipality in British Columbia that won’t negotiate a new collective agreement with its transit workers.”
Director of Communications at the District of West Vancouver Jeff McDonald says they did offer a fair wage and benefits package.
“We’re frustrated by the transit union’s lack of willingness to come to the table with a list of reasonable list of demands. We’re also very aware that the travelling public will be inconvenienced greatly and we sympathize with them greatly for that.”
McDonald says they did try to sweeten the deal.
“It was a very solid offer on the table. The list of demands from the transit union was a long one and would of cost West Vancouver tax payers a lot of money.”
Tieleman says in the last two years there have been 14 turnovers of mechanics, with only 14 positions.
“West Vancouver is the only municipality in British Columbia that hasn’t been able to conclude a collective agreement with its transit operators, its mechanics and other workers in the transit sector, and it’s extremely disappointing that that’s the case. Everybody else has settled along time ago. We still see concessions on the table being demanded and the benefits package, we still see problems trying to retain mechanics.”
The drivers of the Amalgamated Transit Union 134 have been without a contract since March and initiated job action last Monday with an overtime ban.