British Columbia

Union launches legal challenge against TransLink layoffs

TransLink is laying off nearly 1,500 staff and reducing bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express service in an effort to save money as it continues to lose millions in revenue every month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unifor alleges Coast Mountain Bus Company 'cut corners' when giving notice

TransLink says it had to lay off nearly 1,500 workers because it's losing tens of millions of dollars a month because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The union representing Metro Vancouver's bus drivers says it's launching a legal challenge to TransLink's recent mass layoffs.

On Monday, the transit authority announced that 1,492 employees have been given notice in the face of losses totalling tens of millions of dollars per month because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes about 1,200 transit operators and maintenance staff who work for TransLink subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), and who are represented by Unifor.

Unifor representatives said Thursday that they plan to use the B.C. Labour Code to fight the layoffs.

Balbir Mann, president of Unifor Local 111, which represents transit operators, alleged the company didn't provide proper notice of the layoffs.

"We're not going to let the employer cut corners when it comes to layoffs of this magnitude. They should know better," he said in a news release.

In a written statement, TransLink representatives said they are aware of the legal challenge.

"It is CMBC's position that it has honoured the collective agreement and met all legal obligations," the statement said.

Unifor also says it is urging the federal government to provide emergency funding to ensure public transit is available during the pandemic.