No disruption to Canada Line as BCGEU reaches tentative agreement with Protrans BC

MEMBERS of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) working on the Canada Line on Tuesday reached a tentative deal with their employer after 13 months without a contract and more than 40 bargaining sessions, including close to 40 hours since Sunday morning.

“Our members’ goal has always been to get a fair contract at the bargaining table,” said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. “Bargaining isn’t easy at the best of times and bargaining during a pandemic is definitely not the best of times. Our members showed incredible solidarity under extremely challenging circumstances and they got it done.”

Details of the tentative agreement will not be released until members of the bargaining unit have reviewed and voted to ratify the terms.

The union’s last contract with Protrans expired in December 2019 and contract talks started in February 2020. In November 2020 union members voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action. The union served strike notice on Friday, January 29 and was in a legal strike position as of 4 p.m. on Monday, February 1, but chose to delay job action as an act of good faith during negotiations.

The BCGEU represents about 180 workers at the Canada Line. The Canada Line of Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain system is operated by Protrans BC Operations Ltd.—a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond

TRANSLINK said in a statement that it was pleased to learn about the tentative agreement and that job action had been avoided. 

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond called this good news for customers. He said: “I want to thank both parties for working hard to reach this deal. The Canada Line is a vital service that supports thousands of people who rely on our services for essential travel. I’m happy to see an agreement reached without any impact on our customers during this critical time.” 

TransLink also thanked its customers for their patience through this matter.