Transit labour dispute: More SeaBus sailings cancelled, bus service could be next
VANCOUVER – Another six SeaBus sailings were cancelled Tuesday, and the union that represents Metro Vancouver transit operators warn that bus service could be next.
TransLink said in an email that the following trips would be cancelled during the evening commute due to an overtime ban imposed late last week:
- 4:10 p.m. from Lonsdale Quay
- 4:25 p.m. from Waterfront Station
- 6:20 p.m. from Lonsdale Quay
- 6:35 p.m. from Waterfront Station
- 7:30 p.m. from Lonsdale Quay
- 7:45 p.m. from Waterfront Station
The same six sailings were cut from the schedule Monday.
The cancellations began Friday, after talks between transit operators and their employer broke down, and service has been impacted each day since.
SeaBus service was increased to every 10 minutes during rush hour in September, but the strike has essentially ended TransLink's ability to keep up that schedule, a spokesperson said.
Contract negotiations broke off last week between Coast Mountain Bus Company and the union that represents bus and SeaBus operators.
As a result, the union began its first phase of job action; drivers are not wearing uniforms, and maintenance workers are refusing to work overtime.
Refusal of overtime prompted the reduction of SeaBus service.
On Monday, six sailings were cancelled between 4 and 8 p.m., and the union warned bus service could be the next target of job action.
So far, the only impact on Metro Vancouver buses is that operators are no longer wearing their uniforms, but the union's president warned action would escalate if a deal isn't reached.
"(One) of the next phases that we're looking at is an overtime ban for the operators. Our calculations are that will take out about 10 to 15 per cent of the system right away," McGarrigle said.
His comments followed a request from TransLink's mayors' council for both sides to go back to the bargaining table.
Chair Johnathan Cote said he had concerns about a suggestion from Unifor, the operators' union, that expansion plans be scaled back to cover the cost of increases to wages and benefits.
The chair said the region's mayors had concerns about a $608 million gap between Coast Mountain's proposal and Unifor's. He said to meet the union's current demands, there would be "very significant" service cuts and that transit fares could go up.
"The reality is if this labour dispute is to escalate or become prolonged, everyone is going to lose, but the biggest losers will be our transit riders," he said.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber