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

MLA invites community to weigh in on transportation issues in Sidney

Adam Olsen invites Peninsula residents to share questions, concerns at Nov. 24 gathering

Local leaders of all ages honoured at National Philanthropy Day event

Awards in six categories given to Victoria residents who are leaders in giving back

Get your pet on the jumbotron at this weekend’s Royals game

Victoria Royals host the Regina Pats Saturday night 7:05 p.m.

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

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

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

Most Read