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SkyTrain workers issue 72-hour strike notice


CUPE 7000 has issued 72-hour strike notice to the BC Rapid Transit Company.


Jason Payne / PNG

Unionized SkyTrain workers have issued 72-hour strike notice.

The move from CUPE 7000, which represents 900 SkyTrain workers, follows four days of mediation and more than 40 days of bargaining with TransLink’s B.C. Rapid Transit Company.

The union said in a statement that no significant progress has been made on key issues.

The strike notice comes one day after unionized bus and SeaBus workers voted 84.3 per cent in favour of a three-year agreement.

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“We are still committed to reaching an agreement at the table, and our committee will make itself available day and night, over the weekend, to reach a fair deal without any interruption of service,” CUPE 7000 President Tony Rebelo.

CUPE 7000, which represents SkyTrain attendants, control operators, administrators, maintenance and technical staff on the Expo and Millennium lines, voted 96.8 per cent in favour of a strike mandate on Nov. 21.

While the parties are still in bargaining, the SkyTrain union says it will release an update on its job action plan at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Michel Ladrak, president of British Columbia Rapid Transit Company, says the union chose to end the mediated talks.

“The union has not informed BCRTC what form the job action would take nor when it might occur,” Ladrak said. “While we are disappointed by this development, BCRTC and CUPE will continuing bargaining through the weekend. We are hopeful and committed to reaching a fair deal without disrupting the valuable service we provide to the residents of this region.”

For SkyTrain workers, staffing in the operations department as well as wages, are big concerns, along with forced overtime and sick leave.

Wages for SkyTrain workers vary based on a person’s duties. On the low end, a receptionist or data-entry clerk makes $24.95 per hour and a customer service attendant makes $26.43 per hour, while an escalator/elevator technician, the highest-paid tradesperson, makes $49.94 per hour.

The last contract expired Aug. 31.

Canada Line and West Coast Express are not affected by these negotiations.

With files from Jennifer Saltman and the Canadian Press

sbrown@postmedia.com

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