Transit workers on North Island vote to accept contract

North Island transit workers have voted 98 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement.

North Island transit workers have voted 98 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement for a two-per-cent wage increase in each year of a two-year deal.

The employer will continue to pay 100 per cent of a new benefit plan.

Last month, bus drivers and transit mechanics in Courtenay, Comox and Campbell River belonging to the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) voted in favour of strike action when faced with the possibility of paying a portion of benefit costs.

“That was where we were having a sticking point when we were negotiating a couple months ago,” said Darren Richards, general manager of Watson and Ash, the contractor that provides public bus and HandyDart service on behalf of BC Transit in the Comox Valley and Campbell River. “We’ve resolved that issue working with the union, and it worked out quite well. We’ve got a new provider that’s providing basically the same benefit coverage without the big increase in premiums.”

CAW could not be reached for comment.

Stu Shields, national representative for the Canadian Auto Workers union, was not available for comment

The agreement is retroactive to April 1, 2012 and the new agreement expires March 31, 2014.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com