FirstGroup operates the bus and HandyDART services for Kelowna, West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, Lake Country and Peachland.   (Black Press/File Photo)

Impending transit strike reaches breaking point in Central Okanagan

The job action may take place on Sept. 1.

The union representing transit service in Central Okanagan employees has officially issued a notice of a potential strike.

The job action could take place as early as Thursday, Sept.1.

FirstGroup, BC Transit’s service contractor in the Central Okanagan, is undergoing negotiations with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1722, who are advocating for a “living wage” for their members.

FirstGroup operates the bus and handyDART services in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, Lake Country and Peachland.

On Aug. 28, unionized Kelowna transit drivers voted 97 per cent in favour to approve a strike vote.

READ MORE: ‘Can’t hire and retain professional, reliable workers’: Possible Kelowna transit strike

There is currently a shortage of drivers and as a result, routes are not properly covered, placing extra strain on employees of FirstGroup.

Al Peressini, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1722, said that once hired, drivers are not guaranteed hours, have no benefits, and work as needed, on call.

“We strongly encourage both parties to find a fair and reasonable resolution,” said BC Transit in a press release.

Regional partners have sent a letter to the Minister of Labour requesting the provincial government intervene, in order to prevent disruptions to service.

In the event of service disruption, visit bctransit.com/kelowna for further information.


@Rangers_mom
Jacqueline.Gelineau@kelownacapnews.com

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