Transit pickets shut down buses

About 3,300 bus drivers and mechanics are on strike in the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria.

LINK: TransLink strike information

They set up picket lines on Sunday morning, after their old contracts expired at midnight.

Canadian Auto Workers union spokesperson Rick Yelland says his members are prepared for a long strike.

"In 1984, we went on strike for three months, and were legislated back to work over the same issue part-time drivers," he says. "It's stupid for the company to assume we're ever going to accept it. It's not going to happen."

Yelland says the company wants to create a lower class of driver, by bringing in part-timers, who are paid less.

The Seabus has also been shut down by the strike.

SkyTrain security staff are also in a legal strike position. So far, they've limited their picketing to their security office. However, there are no guarantees that SkyTrain will be running on Monday.

The following services are not expected to be affected:

  • West Coast Express;
  • West Van Blue Buses;
  • Bowen Island Community Shuttle;
  • Burnaby heights Community Shuttle;
  • HandyDART;
  • And the Albion Ferry.

Monday morning mess predicted

The major effects of the job action is not expected until Monday morning. when gridlock is expected during the morning rush hour.

ICBC expects an additional 80,000 vehicles to be on Lower Mainland roads on Monday, as a result of the strike.

LINK: ICBC waives rate class during strike

Brian Lowes of the B.C. Safety Council says all those extra vehicles mean more accidents, and he's worried people will get hurt.

Rich Dickson of the Young Drivers of Canada says people should car pool if they can, and they shouldn't expect to find much parking in downtown Vancouver.

LINK: City of Vancouver commuting tips

LINK: Jack Bell Foundation ride sharing

LINK: Vancouver cycling map

Talks to resume Tuesday

Face-to-face negotiations between the Coast Mountain Bus Company and the Canadian Auto Workers union are scheduled for Tuesday.

Company spokesperson George Garrett says the two sides agreed late Saturday afternoon to resume talks.

"The company Coast Mountain Bus Company and the union CAW have agreed to negotiations resuming on Tuesday, April 3," he says.

Don MacLeod, the president of CAW local 111, says its a case of wait and see.

"We certainly will go into these rooms like we have in the past, focused on a fair collective agreement," he says."and now of course, the sooner that's achieved, the sooner the buses and the Seabus will be back to work."

MacLeod says the bus company has agreed to withdraw its application before the Labour Relations Board that stated the company had tabled its final offer.

No gas cut refund

Premier Ujjal Dosanjh has rejected the proposal by ex-premier Glen Clark to give drivers a refund on gas taxes during the transit strike.

Dosanjh says it wouldn't be right to withhold the eight-cents-a-litre from TransLink.

"I want to urge them to get back to the negotiating table to negotiate a deal. I don't believe the government should interfere directly or indirectly by taking away the gas tax," he says. "That in my opinion would be interference in labour relations."

Premier Dosanjh says he isn't ready to talk about the possibility of back-to-work legislation for the transit workers.

The last transit strike, back in 1984, lasted for 14 weeks.