First Canada bus drivers in B.C. ratify collective agreement

Rare to see ‘work-life balance’ in labour deals: CUPE
||Last Updated: 11/08/2018

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 561 bus drivers are back in uniform this week after ratifying a new collective agreement with First Canada ULC on Nov. 4.

The union’s 160 members, based in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, in British Columbia, had initiated job action with a uniform ban on Oct. 10, said the union.

“In collective bargaining, we don’t often see language on work-life balance. For the first time, these members have that language in the body of their collective agreement, along with a range of improvements, including on bereavement leave and vision care, and better compensation for lengthy shifts,” said Dave Ginter, CUPE 561 president.

The new three-year contract — retroactive to April 1, 2017 — includes annual wage increases of two, two, and 2.5 per cent, retroactive wage reimbursements, and new language on run committees that will give members more input into the construction of their shifts while providing better work-life balance, said the union.

It also includes language giving senior part-time employees access to sick leave, health and welfare benefits, the RRSP purchase plan and full-day of pay on statutory holidays, according to CUPE.

CUPE 561 members from First Canada also include about a dozen mechanics. Negotiations for the next round of bargaining may begin as early as December 2019, said the union.

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