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SkyTrain workers vote for strike action

SkyTrain pulls into Sapperton Station in New Westminster. - Black Press file photo
SkyTrain pulls into Sapperton Station in New Westminster.
— image credit: Black Press file photo

Unionized SkyTrain workers have voted 95 per cent for strike action to back contract demands but no shutdown of the rapid transit system is imminent.

CUPE local 7000 spokesperson Annaliese Hunt said mediated negotiations are scheduled for next week and no job action will be taken before then.

A strike by the 537 employees who run SkyTrain's Expo and Millennium lines would not affect service on the Canada Line from Richmond to Vancouver.

The union has not yet issued 72-hour strike notice and Hunt said the union is still hopeful for a deal with TransLink's SkyTrain subsidiary, B.C. Rapid Transit Co.

"The strike vote result shows just how frustrated our members are," Hunt said.

She said the main issues are management-proposed concessions to reduce sick plan benefits and introduce a two-tiered system for retiree benefits.

Hunt said the two sides have agreed to two per cent wage increases in the first two years of an expected three-year contract, while the union wants 2.5 per cent and the company is offering one per cent in the final year.

Wages had been frozen for the previous two years and workers have been without a contract since last summer.

Talks broke down last month.

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