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Unionized SkyTrain workers approve of strike mandate ahead of talks

The Skytrain station at Broadway and Commercial in Vancouver on August 9, 2013.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Union members employed on two of the Vancouver area's three rapid transit lines have voted overwhelmingly to strike.

Roughly 530 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees have voted 95 per cent in favour of a strike.

Three days of mediated talks are slated for next week and union spokeswoman Annaliese Hunt says the outcome of those negotiations is crucial.

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She says B.C. Rapid Transit Company is demanding significant concessions on retirement and sick plan benefits from SkyTrain operators, attendants, dispatchers, maintenance and other workers on two SkyTrain lines.

This dispute does not affect the Canada Line, which connects downtown Vancouver to Richmond and Vancouver's airport.

If a mediated settlement can't be reached, Hunt says the union would need to issue 72-hour notice before any job action could occur.

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