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Mediated talks collapse, strike continues in lengthy Sea-to-Sky transit dispute

Strike affecting corridor from Squamish to Pemberton started Jan. 29
Signs indicating seats which are closed to promote physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic are pictured on a public transit bus in North Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, May 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A quick return of bus service in B.C.’s Sea-to-Sky corridor from Squamish to Pemberton isn’t expected after mediated talks broke down between transit workers and their employer.

Talks on Wednesday between Unifor Local 114 and BC Transit contractor PW Transit were the first in weeks, prompting hopes of movement in the job action that began three-and-half months ago.

But a statement from the union says the contractor, which bargains on behalf of BC Transit, refused to consider options to move the roughly 80 transit workers closer to wage parity with Metro Vancouver bus drivers.

Unifor says PW Transit also rejected another day of mediation in the near future, meaning no talks are scheduled in the strike that started Jan. 29.

A statement from the contractor says it presented two wage proposals but is disappointed that the union turned down both and then left the talks.

HandyDART operations in Squamish have continued throughout the job action because they are considered an essential service, but all other transit in the Sea-to-Sky region is idled indefinitely.

—The Canadian Press

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