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Transit union takes strike vote this week

Sep 09 2012

The union representing B.C. Transit bus drivers, tradespeople and maintenance workers in Greater Victoria is planning a strike vote for Wednesday.

Canadian Auto Workers Local 333 said negotiations with B.C. Transit broke down last week. The union has been without a contract since March 31.

Local 333 president Ben Williams said the two sides will be back at the bargaining table on Friday. Buses will continue to run, he said.

"Our members want to reach a fair collective agreement and continue to provide transit services to our riders without disruption," he said in a statement. "That's our objective, and taking a strike vote is necessary to get there."

Williams said the union would not serve 72-hour strike notice before returning to talks with B.C. Transit.

Union members want to see some improvements to the transit system, he said.

"We know Victoria bus riders depend on public transit, and like them, we want to see more buses on the road, reduced overcrowding and pass-ups and more latenight service."

Williams said three meetings will be held Wednesday to accommodate the union's 650 members.

He said the two sides differ on contracting-out issues, wages and some of the language in the collective agreement.

Additional dates for bargaining are scheduled in September and October.

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