Thursday, January 23, 2014
Greater Victoria handyDART bus drivers and staff renew strike mandate; union wants employer to return to bargaining and negotiate pension.
VICTORIA – Unionized Greater Victoria handyDART drivers and staff voted late Wednesday to renew their strike mandate in efforts to negotiate a pension.
Unifor Local 333 [formerly CAW Local 333] says it’s time for their employer, multinational contractor First Canada, to return to the bargaining table and reach a new collective agreement that includes a pension for the 90 workers who help people with disabilities travel in the region.
Unifor Local 333 President Ben Williams said union members needed to renew the strike mandate first given last February because extensive efforts to include handyDART drivers in BC’s Public Service Pension Plan had been unsuccessful.
“We continue to believe that a new contract can be negotiated without any job action but the employer has to come back to the table prepared to find a way for these workers to have some retirement security through a pension plan,” Williams said.
“Our members are ready to negotiate a win-win situation where Canada First would enroll them in the existing Municipal Pension Plan and workers would mostly fund the pension plan by deferring wage increases and redirecting existing employer RRSP contributions,” Williams said.
Williams added that any job action affecting bus services for people with disabilities would be a last resort and would only take place, if necessary, with significant notice given to handyDART riders.
The handyDART drivers and staff voted 82% in favour of job action if necessary, Williams said, with a 91% turnout of members.
First Canada works under contract to BC Transit, the provincial crown corporation, in Victoria and other BC locations, Williams said.
For more information: Ben Williams, Local Unifor 333, at 250-384-4423