As talks break down between bus drivers and operators and their employers, transit users in Richmond and across Metro Vancouver could find themselves without a ride, with a strike vote scheduled for next week.
In a statement released Thursday, Unifor locals 111 and 2200, which represent more than 5,000 Seabus operators, bus drivers and transit maintenance workers, said that talks with Coast Mountain Bus Company have broken down.
The union will be holding a strike vote on Oct. 10.
According to the union, its members have been working without a contract since March 31. Unifor has been in talks with Coast Mountain Bus Company, which is a subsidiary of TransLink, to better transit workers’ wages, benefits and working conditions.
Unifor also references an 18-per-cent ridership increase between 2016 and 2018, and a 36-per-cent increase in overcrowded bus trips in that same period, as a need to address a “serious” understaffing issue, and lack of proper break and recovery times between trips.
The last time that transit workers were on strike was in 2001, when they walked off the job for four months.