Union issues strike notice that could affect handyDART services starting Monday, Jan. 22. (Black Press file)

Strike could start Monday for handyDart

BC Transit warns users to find alternate transportation

Strike notice issued today means Victoria handyDART services could be disruped as early as Monday (Jan. 22).

BC Transit’s service contractor for handyDART services – First Canada – received 72-hour notice from their unionized handyDART employees of potential job action. First Canada only operates the handyDART services in the Victoria region.

The union says it regrets the impact the disruption would have on its valued riders but has no choice with no talks scheduled and negotiations stalled.

“BC Transit and its contracted service provider First Canada are responsible for driving these negotiations into the ditch,” says Ben Williams, president Unifor Local 333 in a release. “We believe a contract could still be reached before Monday’s shutdown but First Canada’s negotiator has left Victoria and BC Transit apparently could not care less if our members go on strike instead of insisting First Canada reach an agreement.”

Williams said union members voted 97 per cent in favour of strike action. At issue are operators who work full-time but are denied permanent status to avoid benefits other operators receive, he says.

BC Transit says essential service levels would be maintained for handyDART users needing cancer care, dialysis, and care for multiple sclerosis. The interuption would only affect handyDART, not conventional transit and the Taxi Saver program.

The handyDART service is an accessible, door-to-door shared transit service for people with permanent or temporary disabilities that prevent them from using fixed-route transit without assistance.

BC Transit recommends that customers who use handyDART should make alternative arrangements for their transportation in the event of any service disruptions that may occur. Registered handyDART customers can take advantage of the Taxi Saver program, and more information is available by calling 250-995-5618.

Visit bctransit.com or call 250-382-6161 for more information on transit alternatives.



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