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

Virtual reality arcade in Langford opens doors to new worlds

‘You can be on the Titanic, petting giraffes in Africa… killing zombies or be chased by dinosaurs’

High of 21 C for Wednesday

Plus your weekend forecast

Cyclists and drivers take to the streets Wednesday morning in first official Bike to Work Week celebration

The 25th annual Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week kicks off the followingMonday, May 27

Art and fashion collide for a cause at the Union Club of Victoria

May 26 event benefits Art Gallery of Greater Victoria exhibitions and educational programs

Saanich lifeguards earn Vital Link awards for cardiac arrest response

Awards from BC Emergency Health Services recognize quick and skillful life-saving

VIDEO: Fun without sun: Hundreds enjoy Family Fest on Victoria Day

Families enjoy activities in Veterans Memorial Park

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

‘Conservation financing’ could stop old-growth logging

Reader says with this type of financing province recognizes the benefit of forests

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Most Read