Coast Mountain Bus Company describes Unifor plan to shut down bus system as "completely unacceptable"

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      Coast Mountain Bus Company says it's "alarmed" by the latest threat by the union representing transit operators and skilled maintenance staff.

      Earlier today, Unifor announced that it would shut down the entire bus system from Wednesday (November 27) to Friday (November 29) if its salary demands weren't met.

      “It is completely unacceptable our customers are being dragged into this dispute,” CMBC president Michael McDaniel said. “Coast Mountain Bus Company is addressing the union’s complaints about working conditions as well as providing generous wage increases beyond what’s in other public sector settlements in British Columbia. The union is willing to disrupt lives of commuters to get the wages it wants.”

      The planned shutdown will include Black Friday, which is one of the biggest retailing days of the year in the region.

      CMBC, which is owned by TransLink, says it's offered a $6,100 raise to top-level transit operators over four years, bringing their annual salary to $69,900.

      The bus company says it's prepared to give top-level skilled-trades workers a $10,000 increase over four years, boosting their annual pay to $88,800.

      This is before any overtime would be paid.

      CMBC claims that the union's wage demands are $150 million higher than that over a 10-year period.

      "Accepting these demands could result in increases in fares, fees, and taxes or endanger plans for much needed service expansion," the bus company stated. "CMBC is once more urging the union to rethink its wage demands and return to bargaining."