A bus is pictured in downtown Vancouver, Friday, November, 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

UPDATE: TransLink disputes severity of bus delays caused by transit strike

Union says there have been 41 disruptions on Thursday

TransLink is disputing the effect the Metro Vancouver transit strike is having on public transit.

The transit authority said there was a “reduction in frequency” on 11 routes, and buses were sent to to fill gaps, so no one should have been waiting an exceptionally long time. TransLink does not employ the striking employees, directly, but Coast Mountain Bus Company staff work in TransLink’s network.

However, the union representing 5,000 workers in the region said the job action has led to 41 interruptions on Thursday.

Gavin McGarrigle, the western regional director of Unifor, said most of the cancellations were out of the Vancouver bus depot. Five of the runs affected were in Surrey.

More than 60 SeaBus trips have been cancelled since the job action began last Friday, when bus drivers refused to wear uniforms while on shift and maintenance workers put a ban on overtime.

READ MORE: Strike action begins among Metro Vancouver transit workers

READ MORE: Transit strike would mean no uniforms, overtime for maintenance workers: union

READ MORE: Negotiations break down between Metro Vancouver bus drivers, employer as strike looms

McGarrigle said talks with Coast Mountain Bus Company have not resumed, though the company has reached out.

He said the union will not return to the bargaining table until the employer is prepared to discuss its demand for $600 million in increased wages, in line with transit workers in Toronto, and improved working conditions, such as mandatory breaks.

Coast Mountain president Michael McDaniel has said their worker’s salaries are compared to others in B.C.’s public sector, and not Toronto. However, when setting compensation for its executives, TransLink and CMBC have referred to Metrolinx, which operates transit in the Greater Toronto area, as a point of comparison.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver transit strike prompts cancellations as premier won’t intervene

READ MORE: SeaBus services cancelled on first day of Vancouver transit dispute

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