CUPE 4500, representing more than 180 Lower Mainland transit workers employed by the Coast Mountain Bus Company, will sit for two days of mediation with the company on January 2 and 3 after the collective bargaining process broke down earlier this month.

The parties remain divided over working conditions and fair compensation, with workers seeking measures to address unmanageable workloads. The union goes into mediation with a solid mandate for job action: union members voted 100% in favour when a strike vote was held on December 12.

“Our members go to work every day to help Lower Mainland residents and visitors safely and efficiently get where they need to go,” said CUPE 4500 President Chris Gindhu. “For us to do our jobs effectively, we need the company to keep pace with staffing levels and maintain the fair compensation needed to retain workers.”

Gindhu said that the strike vote went unreported until now to avoid needless concern about possible service disruptions during the holiday season. He said the union is committed to working hard to avoid transit service disruptions.

“Our members’ daily work is dedicated to ensuring there are no disruptions in transit service to the public, so we are working hard to avoid job action. However, we can’t do it alone and need the company to enter mediation with that same commitment.”

Gindhu said the union will decline further comment in respect of the mediation process.

CUPE 4500 members employed by Coast Mountain work as transit supervisors, maintenance supervisors, service supervisors, tireperson supervisors, TComm staff, field service trainers, engineers, and warranty administrators, as well as supervisors for the parts department, body shop, trolley overhead, and fare box staff.

The last collective agreement expired on December 31, 2022.