CUPE Fraser Valley bus drivers have voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike mandate as part of the negotiating process.
The members of CUPE Local 561 gave the mandate at a meeting held Sunday night, meaning they are in favour of their bargaining team taking strike action if negotiations break down.
The union would have to serve 72-hour strike notice with the BC Labour Relations Board before taking job action.
But CUPE Local 561 President Dave Ginter said he is confident negotiations won’t lead to a strike.
The First Canada ULC employees are still in bargaining with the employer and say that the strike vote is to communicate their resolve to get a new collective agreement.
Ginter said the main items union members are looking for is wage parity for drivers of smaller buses, such as HandyDART, with drivers of larger buses in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver.
The union is also hoping for some benefits for casual employees, who currently do not have any.
First Canada ULC operates the Central Fraser Valley Transit System – which serves Abbotsford and Mission – and BC Transit.
The membership rejected a proposed memorandum of settlement last month.
The two sides have met five times since the contract expired last summer and the union is seeking a return to the bargaining table for further talks.
“I think we’re going to get this resolved,” Ginter said.
CUPE 561 represents 134 bus drivers, mechanics, cleaners, and maintenance workers and includes members from Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack.