Labour peace on the buses
There will be labour peace at bus stops and shelters throughout the Tournament Capital.
Transit workers in Kamloops have ratified a new four-year collective agreement with their employer, voting 72 per cent in favour of the new deal and avoiding a possible strike.
The new agreement will see the city’s transit workers get a nine per cent pay raise in the final two years of the contract.
The workers weren’t given any wage increases in the first two years of the contract — which is retroactive to April 2010, when the last agreement ran out — in keeping with provincial legislation that froze wages of government employees for two years.
Employees met and ratified the deal on Wednesday, March 9, after the union’s bargaining committee reached a tentative agreement.
It was the two-year freeze that nearly sent workers to the picket lines.
The union representing the employees claimed FirstCanada, the company that runs the Kamloops service on behalf of BC Transit, was hiding behind provincial legislation.
It argued since the bus company is a multinational corporation, collective bargaining should be based on the profits the company made during the year.
Mike Byrne, a representative for Canadian Autoworkers Local 114, credited a strike vote in February with getting the employees as much as they could from the new contract.
Last month, the 120 local union members, from bus drivers to office staff, voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action.
The vote means the CAW was in a legal position to serve 72-hour strike notice within 90 days.
However, the union said it had no intention of striking, but wanted to continue to negotiate with its employer to reach a settlement.