Kelowna transit operator announces offer to driver union – Kelowna News

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Update 3:15 pm

Bus drivers in the Central Okanagan have announced they will go ahead with a full strike on Wednesday.

ATU Local 1722 members will picket at 4 a.m., the union said in a news release.

The union plans to hold a news conference at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Hardy Street Bus Depot to “explain to the public how its members and the community they serve are increasingly agitated by the devaluing of the needs of First Transit workers and riders. alike.”

Mayor Colin Basran will attend the press conference, the union said.

First Transit and ATU Local 1722 will meet Tuesday ahead of the strike, and both sides say they hope to find a solution.

“We will try to keep them at the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith as long as it takes, but we don’t have much faith that they will care enough to bring us or this community the respect we deserve,” the Local 1722 president said. Al Berrezzini.

“Although it is inevitable, unfortunately, we hope to go on strike like tomorrow and we invite the media and anyone who wishes to show their support to join us on Hardy Street at 8:00am.”

The union is again calling on BC Transit to terminate its contract with First Transit and provide bus services similar to those in Victoria.

“The money we send overseas to calculate their profit margins could fix many of the problems we face here. It’s taxpayer money that we want to stay in Kelowna and be invested in a transportation system that we all pay for.”

The original 2:30 p.m

The operator of a transit system in the Central Okanagan has released its latest offer to the drivers’ union, with a strike set for Wednesday.

First Transit Canada says local 1722 local 1722 wage increases totaled nine per cent over three years, including cost-of-living adjustments in years two and three.

“This wage offer will provide important support to our ATU employees as Kelowna’s economy continues to adjust to post-Covid conditions,” First Transit said in a statement.

The union has been slowly escalating the job action, culminating in a full strike that is expected to take place on Wednesday. A meeting between the union and the employer is scheduled for Tuesday. First Transit says it is “confident” it can avoid a strike.

An offer made public, however, is usually a sign of an impasse at the bargaining table. First Transit says it doesn’t want to negotiate with the media, but to make sure “the public has access to more information.”

First Transit says their wage proposal would result in wage increases totaling about 24 percent over the past twelve years.

The Bank of Canada’s inflation calculator pegs inflation at 30.7 per cent over the same period.

First Transit also proposed adding 13 full-time operator positions, an 11 percent increase in the Kelowna workforce. However, the union said they were unable to fill existing positions after the pandemic.

First Transit says they are “disappointed” the union “may choose to withdraw transit service from the citizens of Kelowna.”

“During this time, we have always respected the collective labor rights of our employees. Constructive collective bargaining continues to be our goal, and by working with the ATU, we have reached seven negotiated settlements that provide the foundation for a competitive wage and benefit package that will benefit skilled operators. , allowing us to hire and retain mechanics and customer service employees who have done such a great job for Kelowna,” First Transit said.

“We thank the residents of Kelowna for their patience and understanding, and join BC Transit in apologizing for any service loss impacts caused by ATU Local 1722,” the company’s statement concluded.

The union said the strike was a “last resort” but necessary to “fix the city’s broken transport system”.

Transit users who rely on handyDART service to receive specialized medical appointments or treatments will not have their service affected because the service is considered essential.

First Transit has a contract to operate the system on behalf of PC Transit and municipalities until March 2023. RTCO board chairman Loyal Wooldridge has been advocating that PC Transit be run locally, as is the case in Victoria.

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