SkyTrain union warns of full system shutdown next week

SkyTrain workers will walk off the job Tuesday morning, resulting in a full system shutdown of the Millenium and Expo lines next week, if an agreement isn’t reached with employer BC Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC).  

The shutdown will begin at 5 a.m. Tuesday and continue until 5 a.m. Friday, when normal service will resume.

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Canada Line and West Coast Express won’t be affected, as those workers are represented by a different union.

“We understand that this is a massive action that will cause a great deal of inconvenience to our passengers, which is why we hope we can still reach an agreement Tuesday morning,” said Tony Rebelo, the union’s president.

CUPE 7000, which represents approximately 900 SkyTrain workers, issued a 72-hour strike notice Friday afternoon after four days of mediated talks with BCRTC failed to result in any significant process on key issues.

According to the union, those issues include wages, forced overtime, staffing levels and trades adjustment language.

“We have been either at the table or in mediation for almost 50 days now, so it’s time to get a deal done,” said Rebelo.

SkyTrain workers – including attendants, control operators, adminstrators and maintenance and technical staff – have been without a contract since Aug. 31.

Should job action go ahead Tuesday, it will be the first time SkyTrain workers have walked off the job in over 20 years, when they held a single day shutdown, according to the union.

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