The union representing Cowichan Valley Transit workers has issued the required 72 hour strike notice today (Friday) when talks broke down with First Canada ULC, the company contracted by BC Transit to provide public transportation services throughout the Valley.
The union, Unifor Local 114, is demanding a 5.95 per cent pay raise over five years plus $1 extra per hour because they are willing to accept a step wage grid for new hires, whereby it takes four years for new drivers to reach the full wage. (Currently new hires move immediately to the full wage after their training.)
The union wants a settlement that mirrors the agreement reached between BC Transit and the City of Victoria last August.
“The B.C. government went over every inch of the deal and signed off on it stating that it was compliant with the government mandate. If that’s the case, why can’t First Canada give the same increases to its workers?” Unifor national representative Stu Shields stated in a press release.
“We will remain available to bargain through the weekend if need be and on Monday and Tuesday of next week,” he said.
Shields went on to say that if both parties have not settled on a deal by first shift on Wednesday, Feb. 3, the union will commence strike action that morning.