February 22nd, 2024

Metro Vancouver residents scramble for another ride as bus strike drags into Day 2

By The Canadian Press on January 23, 2024.

Transit workers from the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4500 picket outside of the Lonsdale SeaBus station in the rain during a strike in North Vancouver, B.C., on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

VANCOUVER – Hundreds of thousands of Metro Vancouver residents are without a bus ride again today as striking transit supervisors carry on with their 48-hour strike.

The dispute between more than 180 members of CUPE Local 4500 and Coast Mountain Bus Company has stopped 96 per cent of the region’s buses as well as the SeaBus across Burrard Inlet.

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains says his ministry is considering appointing a special mediator in the dispute, although he also urged both sides to start talking again.

Union spokesman Liam O’Neill says members aren’t happy about taking the action and they tried to pressure the employer without affecting the public but Coast Mountain is unwilling to deal with a wage discrepancy and is trying to bully the union.

Coast Mountain president Michael McDaniel says the union won’t adjust its demand for wage increases and the company has offered more overtime pay and improved benefits and committed to hiring more supervisors.

The strike is expected to end in time for the morning commute Wednesday, although O’Neill says action will escalate if Coast Mountain doesn’t come back to the table with a better offer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2024.

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