Veteran mediator Vince Ready appointed to Fraser Valley transit labour dispute

Click to play video: 'Key issues in Fraser Valley bus strike as job action escalates'
Key issues in Fraser Valley bus strike as job action escalates
Bus drivers in the Fraser Valley begin full strike action today. It comes after talks with their employer failed to reach a new deal over the weekend. National CUPE representative Liam O’Neill explains the big sticking points. – Mar 20, 2023

Well-known special mediator Vince Ready will be joining the table to find a resolution to the months-long Fraser Valley transit labour dispute.

Ready has worked in labour relations since 1965 and has helped solve differences in a number of historical deals in the medical, industrial and other industries.

The ongoing dispute between Canadian Union of Public Employees 561 and First Transit began in March, with hundreds of bus drivers walking off the job.

Click to play video: 'Fraser Valley transit strike enters week 7'
Fraser Valley transit strike enters week 7

“This dispute has been incredibly challenging for everyone who relies on the bus service. The prolonged absence of transportation has had real impacts on residents in the region,” B.C.’s Minister of Labour Harry Bains said.

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“Vince Ready is a highly regarded mediator among the labour, business and public-sector communities.

“I am confident he will do everything he can to help the parties end this labour dispute.”

The union previously said its members have no pension and make 32 per cent less than bus drivers and other staff elsewhere in Metro Vancouver’s transit system.

Click to play video: 'Pressure mounts on government as Fraser Valley transit strike hits one month mark'
Pressure mounts on government as Fraser Valley transit strike hits one month mark

The burden on the community has been felt, especially for students who rely on transit to get to class.

International student Mensahiv Pandher said Monday he’s paying between $50 and $60 each way to get to class. He takes a bus from his home in Maple Ridge to Langley, where he catches an Uber.

Speaking with Global News on campus in Abbotsford in May, Pandher urged First Transit to “fulfil their demands” and bring the job action to a swift close.

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“It should end as soon as possible,” he said. “Every time I come, it costs me around 100 bucks a day … I have family in Maple Ridge so I cannot live over here.”

Ready is expected to sit at the table for 10 days to secure a resolution to the ongoing strike. If a solution is not found in those days, he will be submitting a number of recommendations to end the dispute.

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