Employees of Coast Mountain Bus Company have voted overwhelmingly in favour of supporting strike action, if needed.
On Thursday night, 99 per cent of the 5,000 Unifor Local 111 and 2200 members voted for the strike mandate, following a break down in negotiations for a new collective agreement earlier this month.
The union, which represents bus drivers, Seabus workers and maintenance staff within Metro Vancouver, says that a significant increase in ridership has strained available resources and eroded working conditions since the last collective agreement was negotiated.
“The system overload is impacting breaks and recovery time in between trips as drivers struggle to maintain service,” said Unifor western regional director Gavin McGarrigle. “The end result is overworked drivers and that’s a serious safety issue that must be dealt with at the table.”
The union workers have been without an agreement since March 31 and negotiations are set to resume on Oct. 15.
“There is still an opportunity for Coast Mountain to do the right thing and to come back to negotiations with an offer that addresses the outstanding issues,” said Mike Smith, Unifor Local 2200 president.
The strike mandate will be in effect for the next 90 days, but in order to strike the union will provide a 72-hour notice.