‘It is a mistake to weaken the public transit system while tens of thousands of essential workers rely on it every day.’
Workers’ union Unifor will use the B.C. Labour Code to challenge Translink subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus Company's layoff notices issued on April 20, 2020, saying that the company failed to issue a 60-day notice.
The union will be seeking to have the layoffs rescinded, or at minimum pay for the close to 1,000 transit operators and 200 maintenance staff who have received a layoff notice during the 60 days. The notice was effective May 18, 2020.
"Transit service rollbacks must be stopped," said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president. "The federal government needs to act fast. It is a mistake to weaken the public transit system while tens of thousands of essential workers rely on it every day."
Appeal to public
Unifor is also asking the public to tell their members of parliament that federal emergency funds are urgently needed to keep transit services reliable during the pandemic. The union wrote to the prime minister this week urging him to provide similar assistance to public transit that has been already granted to the airline industry.
"Other critical transportation networks, such as airlines, have been granted access to federal subsidies," said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor western regional director. "Let's show essential services workers that we are committed to getting them to work safely and efficiently."
Unifor is also calling on all levels of government to come together to maintain transit service levels to keep passengers safe and to keep Metro Vancouver's economy moving.
Earlier this month, Air Canada and WestJet announced that they plan to rehire thousands of workers laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic using the revised Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, according to a Canadian HR Reporter article.