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Mediated talks collapse, strike continues in lengthy Sea-to-Sky transit dispute

VANCOUVER — A quick return of bus service in B.C.'s Sea-to-Sky corridor from Squamish to Pemberton isn't expected after mediated talks broke down between transit workers and their employer.
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Motorists travel on the Sea-to-Sky highway between Horseshoe Bay and Lions Bay, B.C., on Friday, April 23, 2021. Quick return of bus service in B.C.'s Sea-to-Sky corridor from Squamish to Pemberton isn't expected after mediated talks broke down between transit workers and their employer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER — A quick return of bus service in B.C.'s Sea-to-Sky corridor from Squamish to Pemberton isn't expected after mediated talks broke down between transit workers and their employer.

Talks on Wednesday between Unifor Local 114 and BC Transit contractor PW Transit were the first in weeks, prompting hopes of movement in the job action that began three-and-half months ago.

But a statement from the union says the contractor, which bargains on behalf of BC Transit, refused to consider options to move the roughly 80 transit workers closer to wage parity with Metro Vancouver bus drivers.

Unifor says PW Transit also rejected another day of mediation in the near future, meaning no talks are scheduled in the strike that started Jan. 29.

A statement from the contractor says it presented two wage proposals but is disappointed that the union turned down both and then left the talks.

HandyDART operations in Squamish have continued throughout the job action because they are considered an essential service, but all other transit in the Sea-to-Sky region is idled indefinitely.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2022.

The Canadian Press