UPDATE: Transit strike threat looms in Greater Victoria

Union representing drivers promises to issue 24-hour notice before striking

Commuters are holding their breath as Greater Victoria bus drivers square off against BC Transit in contract negotiations.

More than 650 bus drivers, skilled trades and maintenance workers in Greater Victoria issued strike notice last Friday, but the union representing the workers has promised to give 24-hour notice before any service disruptions take place.

“We’d like to think that’s not going to happen, that BC Transit would soon be contacting us and looking to return to the table,” said Ben Williams, Canadian Auto Worker local 333 president.

“But if that’s not the case, then we would be moving forward with some sort of job action in the near future.”

The two sides remain at an impasse over wage increases and benefits, which are not in line with the B.C. government’s net zero mandate, said BC Transit spokeswoman Meribeth Burton.

“We asked the bargaining committee to go and speak to other unions. There seems to be a lack of understanding about what the co-operative gains mandate is,” she said.

The negotiating mandate requires unions to offset any wage increases with cost savings and productivity gains in other areas.

Both the B.C. Nurses Union and B.C. Government Employees Union have come to tentative contract agreements under the mandate.

“Our agreement is exactly in line with the nurses, the BCGEU and we’re still surprised we’re sitting at this impasse,” Burton said.

No specific bargaining details are being provided by either side, but both Williams and BC Transit have expressed a desire to return to negotiations.

Greater Victoria transit operators last took strike action in April 2001. The strike lasted 14 days.

HandyDART drivers are under a separate collective agreement and are not part of the job action.

Look for the latest service updates at bctransit.com.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Greater Victoria teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

One year in, teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressure from families

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Various Victoria locations were hit with a slew of anti-bylaw graffiti Wednesday. This image has been altered to cover up profane language. (Submitted photo)
UPDATED: Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti an ‘unacceptable’ form of communication says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

Sooke Road will be down to a single lane Thursday night while crews work on a water main connection. (Pixabay stock image)
Sooke Road down to single lane for water main connection

Night work scheduled for Thursday, early Friday morning

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

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

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

Most Read