Blue Bus riders can breathe now that the District of West Vancouver and the Amalgamated Transit Union local 134 have shaken hands on a four-year labour deal.
The union's roughly 100 Blue Bus employees voted 79 per cent in favour of accepting the district's offer last week and district council put their stamp of approval on the agreement Monday. The union had previously voted to strike.
Under the new agreement, employees will get a zero per cent pay increase for 2012, two per cent in 2013 and 2014, and a raise in 2014 that matches whatever Coast Mountain Bus Company employees negotiate with their employer.
Beyond that, the two sides negotiated minor improvements to employee health coverage and an increase in their deductible, the removal of pharmaceutical plan dispensing fees from the district's costs and a four-day work week for mechanics.
"To the union's credit, they were taking a noconcessions approach to negotiations and they moved away from that, and we were able to engage in meaningful negotiations with a little bit of give and take on both sides," said TJ Schmaltz, the district's negotiator. "There are some costs to the district out of this but we consider them to be reasonable costs of doing business."
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