British Columbia

More SeaBus sailings to be cancelled Thursday amid job action by transit workers

A total of 16 SeaBus trips are expected to be scrapped on Thursday as Metro Vancouver transit drivers and maintenance workers continue their job action over wages and working conditions.

16 trips to be scrapped Thursday; still no impact on regular bus service on day 6 of the standoff

A total of 14 SeaBus trips were cancelled Wednesday and 16 are expected to be cancelled Thursday as transit drivers and maintenance workers continue job action over wages and working conditions. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

North Shore transit commuters can expect more SeaBus cancellations on Thursday as Metro Vancouver transit drivers and maintenance workers head into the seventh day of a regional dispute over wages and working conditions. 

According to TransLink, a total of 16 sailings will be cancelled on Thursday, two more than the day before, 

The planned cancellations include:

  • The 7:20 a.m., 9 a.m., 4:10 p.m., 6:47 p.m., 7:17 p.m., 7:47 p.m., 8:17 p.m., and 8:47 p.m. sailings from Lonsdale Quay.
  • The 7:35 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 4:25 p.m., 7:01 p.m., 7:31 p.m., 8:01 p.m., 8:31 p.m., and 9:01 p.m. sailings from Waterfront Station.

Fourteen trips were axed Wednesday as maintenance workers refuse to work overtime as part of the job action.

Planned SeaBus cancellations on Wednesday included:

  • The 7:10 a.m., 7:40 a.m., 8:40 a.m., 9:10 a.m., 4:10 p.m., 6:20 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. sailings from Lonsdale Quay.
  • The 7:25 a.m., 7:55 a.m., 8:55 a.m., 9:25 a.m., 4:25 p.m., 6:35 p.m., and 7:45 p.m. sailings from Waterfront Station.

There has been no impact on regular bus service thus far, though Unifor, the union representing 5,000 workers in Metro Vancouver, said that will change if an agreement is not reached with the Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), which operates buses and SeaBus on behalf of TransLink.

The job action, which began last Friday, has so far led to dozens of cancelled sailings on the SeaBus route between downtown Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. 

Mike Smith, president of Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and SeaBus workers, has said the transit system in the region has "normalized overtime," so impact without the extra work will be tangible.

Province will not interfere

Speaking to media at a Vancouver Board of Trade event Tuesday, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said relying on employees to work overtime is normal at every transit agency he is aware of in North a.m.erica, and the overtime money is nice for people's pockets and more cost effective for the company.

"There is a fine line between when you need to hire someone else ... and when an extra hour or two of overtime makes more sense," said Desmond.

Desmond said he is appealing to the union and CMBC to negotiate an agreement.

"If it goes further, we start affecting the lives of people who take transit everyday," he said. "Let's figure out how to get to the deal."

Premier John Horgan told a Vancouver news conference that "collective bargaining should run its course" and the government has "no plans to interfere" in the impasse between Unifor and CMBC, which bargains on behalf of TransLink.

The last full-scale transit strike in Metro Vancouver lasted 123 days in 2001. In the end, the provincial government ordered staff back to work.

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