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Union claims victory as B.C. Transit stops sending out buses for repairs during dispute

Nov 15 2012
B.C. Transit's Victoria garage on Gorge Road East. 

B.C. Transit's Victoria garage on Gorge Road East.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist , Times Colonist

Greater Victoria bus drivers are claiming a major victory after B.C. Transit backed away from its plan to use replacement workers for backlogged maintenance work during an ongoing labour dispute.

Canadian Auto Workers Local 333 worked out the agreement with B.C. Transit in Vancouver on Wednesday with a little help from Labour Relations Board officials.

“This is a victory for our union and a victory for labour legislation that prohibits the use of replacement workers during a dispute,” said union president Ben Williams. “Those buses should not have been removed from our depot. We believe B.C. Transit was wrong.”

Last week, B.C. Transit sent nine buses to outside garages because union members stopped working overtime three weeks ago and the number of buses needing significant servicing was increasing.

That plan was put on hold when Local 333 filed a complaint with the Labour Relations Board. B.C. Transit held off on the contracted work and waited for a response from the Labour Relations Board.

Those nine buses will now be returned to the B.C. Transit shops.

“We hope this is the olive branch that is needed to get back to signing a collective agreement,” said Meribeth Burton, spokeswoman for B.C. Transit. “Our aim was never to incite the union or upset the union, our aim was to get as much service on the road as possible."

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