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

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

The delegation appeared at an event celebrating ‘the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity’

Turning pro on the Island

Pacific FC’s Brad Norris-Jones talks about his journey to pro sports in Victoria

Fitness and health programming drew more than 12,000 participants in Saanich

New report also finds a gender split in programming

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Most Read