Contract negotiations between the Amalgamated Transit Union local 1722 and FirstCanada, which operates the Kelowna regional transit system are underway. —Image: Capital News file

Kelowna transit contract negotiations underway

Both sides looking to avoid another strike following the two-week system shutdown in 2016

Contract negotiations are underway in Kelowna between the company that operates the Central Okanagan’s regional transit system and the union that represents its drivers.

Earlier this week, representatives of FirstCanada and the Amalgamated Transit Union exchanged initial proposals and negotiations started Thursday.

ATU local 1722 president Scott Lovell said negotiations are in the preliminary stage and he is “cautiously optimistic” a deal can be done. He has told the media in addition to wages, safety of drivers is also an issue he feels needs to be addressed in the negotiations.

While all Kelowna buses now have surveillance cameras on board and outside—including one trained on the driver—the union has said it also wants doors installed to protect drivers from attack.

Only one bus in the Kelowna transit fleet has a driver’s door installed and that was done last year as part of a province-wide “proof of concept” that saw modified protective driver’s doors installed on one bus in Kelowna, one in Abbotsford and three in Victoria.

RELATED: Top 10 stories of 2016: Bus strike brings Kelowna to a halt

In 2015 a pilot project testing driver protection doors lead to mixed reviews and the design was modified.

Both sides hope to avoid the result that occurred last time contract negotiations took place—a two-week strike in November 2016 that brought the transit system to a halt and left bus riders out in the cold.

That strike was only settled after behind-the-scenes mediation by officials at Kelowna city hall.

After repeatedly publicly urging the two sides to return to the negotiation table but refusing to to get involved, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran instructed the city’s director of human resources to try and mediate a settlement between the company and the union. Following two days of talks with the help of the city’s director of human resources, a three-year deal was struck.

The Kelowna regional transit system serves the Central Okanagan from Peachland to Lake Country, including Kelowna, West Kelowna, areas of the Regional District of Central Okanagan and the Westbank First Nation lands.

The system has 28 routes and a bus rapid transit service called RapidBus that operates along Highway 97 from Westbank to the UBC Okanagan campus via downtown Kelowna.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police search for owner of another icy sailboat on Okanagan Lake

The frozen vessel was spotted near the 800 block of Manhattan Drive in Kelowna

Chilliwack on the map for Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

Canadian music legends confirmed for 28th annual music festival

Kelowna author Irwin Wislesky to release science-fiction novel on time travel

Invisible Footprints in Time follows Maxine Samuels and her quest back in time to save the future

Third woman files sexual harassment suit against former Kelowna Mountie

Brian Mathew Burkett left the RCMP in August 2017

Kelowna getting smarter with Intelligent Cities Strategy

The city wants to use technology to improve Kelowna and the lives of those who live within it

17 Husky pups rescued from Interior B.C. property find new homes

The BC SPCA caught the moment on video the last puppy, Uki, met his owners

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Samajam gets Okanagan kids in the groove

Children make music at Performing Arts Centre show Saturday

Human rights tribunal to hear case regarding alleged violation at Okanagan school

An Okanagan mother alleges a school did not make accommodations for her daughter’s seizure disorder.

Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Eric Pinto owns hundreds of boards, spanning multiple decades

North Okanagan woman pleas for return of stolen scooter

‘It’s been another kick in the teeth… how do you get ahead and keep your head above water?’

Volunteer spends hundreds of hours restoring piece of railway history

Revelstoke Railway Museum now home to an authentic Kalamazzo No. 2 Section Handcar

Most Read