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SkyTrain union, company return to bargaining table while bus drivers set to strike

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VANCOUVER - The union representing 900 SkyTrain workers and their employer are returning to the bargaining table, as another Metro Vancouver transit union remains poised to strike next week.

TransLink's BC Rapid Transit Company and CUPE 7000 both say in statements that they have agreed to resume collective bargaining talks this weekend.

The announcement comes the day after 96.8 per cent of members voted in favour of job action if a contract isn't reached.

Eight days of mediation beginning Thursday have been booked, but CUPE 7000 president Tony Rebelo says the company has indicated it's willing to "take another look at substantial issues in advance of mediation."

Michel Ladrak, president of BC Rapid Transit Company, calls the resumption of talks "a very positive step forward" in a statement.

CUPE 7000 represents approximately 900 SkyTrain workers including attendants, control operators, administrators, maintenance workers and technical staff.

The last CUPE 7000 contract expired on Aug. 31, 2019.

Canada Line and West Coast Express are not affected by these negotiations.

Meanwhile, TransLink's Coast Mountain Bus Company and Unifor, which represents Seabus operators, bus drivers and mechanical staff, remain in a deadlock.

Unifor, which represents the 5,000 workers, says unless it reaches a settlement with TransLink's Coast Mountain Bus Company in the coming days, it will stage the three-day walk out.

Coast Mountain says in a statement more than 350,000 people take the bus daily in Metro Vancouver and they should not be caught in the middle of this dispute.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2019.

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