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Essential transit services to be offered if job action escalates in Fraser Valley, says employer

CUPE workers issued 72-hour strike notice on Monday as negotiations drag on
A bus travels along Ashwell Road in Chilliwack on Jan. 18, 2017. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)

The employer of Fraser Valley transit operators has responded to a 72-hour union strike notice, saying they hope planned job action won’t happen Thursday.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 561 (CUPE) announced on Monday they would not be collecting fares on all routes in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, Agassiz and Hope on Thursday, Feb. 2, as they feel negotiations have dragged on.

They also have plans to withhold work for two days at the end of February, excluding HandyDART.

First Transit, an employer with a contract from BC Transit, said Tuesday that they’ve presented an offer to the union and hope the negotiations can continue without job action.

“First Transit has presented an offer to CUPE Local 561 that would see a significant increase in full-time benefits-eligible positions, and structural improvements intended to provide operators with better work-life balance, while providing enhanced reliability of service for customers, to keep up with the growth of Abbotsford, Chilliwack and the surrounding communities,” a press release from First Transit said. “We hope CUPE leadership will focus on constructive negotiations at the bargaining table so a sustainable collective agreement can be negotiated and service can continue uninterrupted.”

They added that if job action were to move forward in late February, they have “an essential services agreement” in place to ensure essential transit service for the communities it serves.

“Our objective is to reach a new collective agreement with CUPE Local 561 that benefits all stakeholders in the Fraser Valley,” they said.

READ MORE: Fraser Valley bus operators serve 72-hour strike notice as negotiations drag on with employer


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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