UPDATE: Possible BC Transit handyDART strike delayed

UPDATE: Possible BC Transit handyDART strike delayed

Update: Possible strike action by operators and staff of BC Transit’s handyDART service in Greater Victoria has been delayed by an employer application to the BC Labour Relations Board.

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart bus service for people with disabilities will continue running in Greater Victoria through at least Wednesday after contract service provider First Canada made an application to the BC Labour Relations Board late Friday.

“Because First Canada has applied to the BC Labour Relations Board for an amendment to the essential services designation both sides had previously agreed to, the union must now re-serve [a] 72-hour strike notice,” said Unifor Local 333 President Ben Williams.  

“That means there will be no strike Monday, January 22 and not until the full 72-hours notice period has ended, so service will remain normal for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Earlier, the union had warned that stop handyDART service could halt on Monday in Greater Victoria if a last-minute deal couldn’t be reached for HandyDART drivers.

Essential services would still be provided during any future strike for patients requiring cancer care, dialysis, and care for multiple sclerosis, but Williams is warned customers that it would mean “extremely limited” service for most people with disabilities who would have to find
alternative transportation.

“Our members have strong relationships with their riders and they hate to be put in this position but First Canada is penalizing many operators who work full-time but are being denied permanent status to avoid paying them benefits,” Williams said.

Members voted 97 per cent in favour of a strike if a deal couldn’t be reached with First Canada, which works under contract to BC Transit.

In a release, BC Transit says it’s “closely monitoring the situation and is optimistic the parties will find resolution without disruption to transit services.”

BC Transit is also reminding customers in the Capital Region that regular bus service is fully accessible, including spaces for wheelchairs and low-floor buses. Transit officials say registered handyDART customers can also take advantage of the taxi saver program.  More information on that program is available by calling 250-995-5618.

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