SkyTrain workers, employer returning to bargaining table this weekend
VANCOUVER -- The day after unionized SkyTrain workers voted in favour of strike action, the two sides in the dispute have agreed to return to the bargaining table this weekend.
CUPE 7000 announced Friday that members, who have been without a contract since August, will be meeting with the B.C. Rapid Transit Company in the hopes of finally reaching a deal.
In the meantime, the union said both sides have agreed to a "media blackout."
CUPE members passed a nearly unanimous strike vote this week, with 96.8 per cent support, but have yet to give the 72 hours' notice necessary to actually begin any form of job action.
The union said the vote was prompted because the BCRTC refused to continue bargaining ahead of a round of mediated talks that are scheduled to begin on Nov. 28.
"The company has informed us they're willing to take another look at substantial issues in advance of mediation," CUPE president Tony Rebelo said in a statement Friday.
"In fairness, we have agreed to make no further statement until those discussions have occurred."
B.C. Rapid Transit Company president Michel Ladrak also issued a brief statement calling the planned weekend bargaining a "very positive step forward."
“Given that both sides have now returned to the bargaining table, we will not be providing further comment at this time," Ladrak said.
The union said its key concerns are wages, staffing levels, overtime and a sick leave plan.
Few details of the dispute have been made public, however, compared to the more publicly acrimonious bargaining breakdown that's been playing out between the Coast Mountain Bus Company and unionized bus and SeaBus workers.
Earlier this week, Unifor – which represents those workers – announced there will be a "complete system shutdown" for three days beginning on Nov. 27 as the two sides remain stuck at an impasse with no scheduled talks in sight.