Bus drivers and other unionized staff at Coast Mountain Bus Co. have struck a tentative three-year deal to secure labour peace on Metro Vancouver’s transit system.
No details on pay increases have been released yet or how much that will add to the financial challenges facing cash-strapped TransLink.
Canadian Auto Workers local 111 president Don MacLeod described it as a no-concessions contract in line with public sector wage guidelines, reached without job action.
More than 4,700 drivers, mechanics, maintenance and SeaBus workers represented by two CAW union locals will be asked to ratify the contract in votes next Tuesday.
The previous contract expired last March. The new agreement, if ratified, is to run until March 31, 2015.
Union leaders are recommending acceptance.
Bargaining took place against a backdrop of raging political debate over how to refinance TransLink and the release last year of two audits of TransLink that gave separate prescriptions to improve efficiency.
“There’s no doubt there were pressures on the table from all these audits and recommendations,” MacLeod said.
“It seemed like everybody out there had some opinion on where the bargaining table should move.”
Asked why union leaders didn’t opt to wait for a possible change of government after the May provincial election, MacLeod said there was momentum towards a deal and it made sense to conclude it.
“That’s not the way we bargain,” he said, adding there’s no guarantee conditions would be more favourable, no matter which party forms the next government.
“If we could get a deal done now, that’s what we were focused on and we managed to achieve that.”
He said the union looks forward to focusing on how to push for solutions to reduce bus overcrowding, pass-ups and the lack of late-night bus service.
TransLink officials could not be reached for comment.