The Vicinity bus

B.C. Transit and union reach labour agreement, strike averted

Union-opposed shuttle buses won't be used in Greater Victoria, for now

B.C. Transit has reached a tentative agreement with the union representing its workers, but regular bus service may still be disrupted for weeks due to a backlog of mechanical work.

The two-year tentative deal struck on Wednesday immediately ends job action, including the one-day strike that had been planned for next week.

Union members and the transit board will ratify the agreement in the coming days, said Canadian Auto Workers 333 local president Ben Williams.

“It’s a huge relief,” he said of the drawn-out negotiations that began last May.

Employees will see a two per cent pay increase retroactive to April 2012, and another 2 per cent increase in 2013.

But the biggest win for the union is a promise from B.C. Transit that its Vicinity shuttle buses won’t be used in the Capital Region for at least the next year and a half.

“Nobody will give you that assurance that something will never happen, it’s only for the term of the contract,” Williams said.

The newly purchased Vicinity buses were contentious because they require less training and can be driven by lower-paid drivers. The union wanted final say on both factors. Trials for the buses will still take place outside the Capital Region.

A return to full transit service will take time, said Williams, because of a backlog of mechanical work on approximately 50 buses, a result of the union’s overtime ban that was implemented last October.

“We expect it’s going to take not a few days, but more along the lines of a few weeks before you see the system return to normal,” Williams said.

The union hopes to be part of any decision to bring in the Vicinity buses in the future, and Williams is already looking ahead to the next labour negotiations.

“I’d imagine we’d be back at the table next January,” he said. While typical contracts last three years, the net-zero mandate brought forward by the province required only a two-year agreement.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Greater Victoria MP Randall Garrison calls on Ottawa to extend peacekeeping mission in Mali

The Esquimalt-Sooke-Saanich MP just returned from a trip to Mali and Senegal

Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Fisheries need more data to know if numbers are increasing

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Credit card frauds target local businesses: VicPD

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read