Transit workers in British Columbia’s Sea to Sky region, which includes Whistler, Squamish and the Pemberton Valley, have gone on strike after talks between them and their employers broke down.
The strike notice is out on January 21, with 80 workers on strike from 5 a.m. Saturday. Workers are represented by Unifor Local 114.
Unifor said employers of the workers, who are contractors working under provincial transportation authority BC Transit, have yet to respond to demands for improved wages, benefits and job security.
Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s western regional director, said workers in the region are looking to receive benefits like transit workers in Victoria and Vancouver.
Picket lines were set up this morning among the contractors of @BCTransit who refuse to pay a fair wage to #Whistler, #Squamish and #Pemberton . Learn more and write a letter in support of transit workers at https://t.co/KcqqX6TzKI. #bclab #canlab #bcpoli a> pic.twitter.com/bPVtbDMebt
“What we’ve seen over the years is that housing has gotten so out of control and costs so out of control that workers’ wages just haven’t kept up,” he said.
“[The] Whistler area [is] a playground for the rich. But the workers who serve the whole community cannot afford to live there.”
HandyDART services – for people with physical, sensory or cognitive disabilities who need help using public transport – will continue to operate in the area as an essential service.
However, all other transit operations will not be operational. BC Transit did not provide a timeline for the resumption of public transit in the area.
“The labor dispute is between BC Transit’s subcontractors – Whistler Transit Ltd. and Diversified Transit – and their unionized employees,” the provincial authority said. in a report.
“BC Transit is monitoring the situation closely and hopes the parties will find a resolution soon.”
McGarrigle said BC Transit should “wake up” and deliver the benefits workers are asking for.
“There’s only one or two things that happened here,” he said.
“BC Transit hasn’t provided enough funds to the contractor to settle for a contract, or the contractor is trying to nickel the workers and take a cut of the profits.”