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Some facts about the Metro Vancouver transit strike that has paralyzed bus services

VANCOUVER — Bus and SeaBus services in Metro Vancouver are paralyzed for a second day amid a strike by transit supervisors. Here are some facts about the industrial action:

Who is on strike?: More than 180 transit supervisors for Coast Mountain Bus Company that provides 96 per cent of Metro Vancouver bus services as well as SeaBus service across Burrard Inlet.

What do they want?: The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4500 says it wants a new contract that closes a wage gap with other supervisors for regional transport authority TransLink.

What’s the impact?: The supervisors are on a 48-hour strike that ends at 3 a.m. Wednesday. Because drivers refuse to cross the picket lines, all Coast Mountain Bus and SeaBus service has halted. Coast Mountain says 300,000 riders are affected each day.

Why did talks break down?: Coast Mountain says the union is demanding a 25-per-cent wage increase and says that’s unreasonable. The union says Coast Mountain has tried to “bully” them.

Could the strike spread?: CUPE Local 7000, representing SkyTrain staff, says the rail service could halt, too, if a Labour Relations Board complaint by CUPE Local 4500 is upheld and pickets go up at SkyTrain stations. TranLink says the chance of that is low.

What’s the next step?: The union won’t say if or when another strike will be called. The B.C. government says a special mediator with extra powers could be appointed if the deadlock continues. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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