(Montreal) On November 3, the 15th and 26th of the same month, there will be a strike of bus drivers at the Society de Transport de Laval.
It is affiliated with the FTQ, the local body of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents them. Union 627 represents bus drivers.
“Unfortunately, with the stalemate we are facing today, we had to strike; We must impose strike days. It is unfortunate that citizens are being held hostage by this pressure strategy. But it’s the only way for us to move our employer and get things done, “said Union President Patrick Laughlur in an interview.
The STL management said the bus drivers’ union’s decision was “unacceptable”, but the parties were only in their second compromise-mediation session.
“This signal has the effect of depriving customers of the necessary, efficient and low-cost service, especially for front-line workers, especially in times of epidemic,” the transport company protested.
The emergency services to be carried out during this three-day strike will now have to be decided. A hearing on the effect is scheduled for October 25 before the Administrative Labor Court. If there is no agreement between the parties, the court will make a decision.
Normally, when there is a public transport strike, services are held for workers during the morning and afternoon rush hours and in the evening at 11pm, Mr. Laughlor explains.
Union members had a strike order of 99% last January.
Litigation and a tight financial framework
The union, among other things, is concerned with the transport company’s willingness to cancel bus trips when demand is not sufficient, as well as the flexibility and choice of schedules expected from supernumerary drivers.
With regard to the salary issue, the union said it was demanding the same increase offered in other areas of activity.
STL, like other public transport companies, has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a decline in ridership and hence revenue. She therefore argues that her financial framework is rigorous and that she must adhere to it.
STL said it was able to reach an agreement with other unions while respecting its economic framework. “These agreements are concluded with the financial and operational parameters proposed to renew the collective agreement for drivers.”
Mr Laughlor argued that despite this tough financial framework, STL managers had not done their part. He noted that payroll dedicated to non-union managers has increased.
He does not dispute the decline in ridership, but believes that services should not be reduced. Instead, it is necessary to adapt to the new realities by modifying the STL network to take into account the expansion of the REM (Metropolitan Express Network).