Surrey/North Delta Leader

TransLink bus drivers get pay hikes of two per cent a year

Coast Mountain Bus drivers will pay increases of two per cent in 2013 and 2014.  - Black Press File
Coast Mountain Bus drivers will pay increases of two per cent in 2013 and 2014.
— image credit: Black Press File

Coast Mountain Bus Co. drivers and other unionized staff will get a four per cent pay increase over the next two years under a new contract ratified Tuesday.

The three-year deal reached last week provides no retroactive wage hikes for the first year – the old contract expired last March – but gives two per cent raises in 2013 and 2014.

The new collective agreement was ratified in an 88 per cent vote by members of two Canadian Auto Workers locals who work at TransLink's bus subsidiary.

It covers more than 4,700 transit operators, mechanics, maintenance and SeaBus workers, running to March 31, 2015.

CAW local 111 president Don MacLeod said the deal ensures no concessions for workers while complying with the net-zero government mandate for other public sector unions in the first year.

MacLeod said the union also negotiated improvements to bus scheduling running times to improve service and address itsDon MacLeod concerns about pass-ups, overcrowding and lack of night bus service.

He said the union will continue to work with TransLink to reduce fare evasion as well as violent attacks on bus drivers.

The annual pay increases will add at least $6 million in each of the next two years to the $320-million annual cost of wages for the drivers and other operations staff, according to Coast Mountain Bus director of operations Don Rice.

"There's no net increase in costs other than the straight wage increase," Rice said.

Coast Mountain is still bargaining with two smaller groups of workers – transit and maintenance supervisors, as well as other workers in depot dispatch and security.

Rice said Coast Mountain has made significant savings in its cost structure after two audits last year.

Photo: Don MacLeod of CAW local 111

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