At a time when negotiations with the Société de transport de Laval (STL) have bogged down, public transit planning within the Montreal Metropolitan Community has been a resounding failure and the social climate demands a drastic change in mobility, the Laval bus drivers’ union has expressed great disappointment over the mayor’s refusal to meet with them.
“What angers union members even more are the reasons why Laval’s new mayor, Stéphane Boyer, doesn’t want to meet with the president of CUPE Quebec, Patrick Gloutney and union representatives. Members of the executive did meet with Boyer back on August 19, 2021 when he was running for mayor at the time,” stated union president Patrick Lafleur.
“Unfortunately, public transit does not rank high up on the new mayor’s list of priorities. If that were the case, he’d be talking with the people concerned to find sustainable solutions to ensure effective public transit service in Laval,” said Gloutney.
The mayor’s lack of openness comes at a time when negotiations with the union have gotten quite difficult. The 635 bus drivers, who have been without a contract since July 2019, are determined to renew their collective agreement in good faith.
Talks have bogged down, particularly over insufficient wage offers from STL, which, in these inflationary times, will mean greater poverty for the membership. The latter have struck for five days to date, the last time back on December 19, 2021.
The atmosphere in terms of labour relations and at the bargaining table continues to deteriorate. At the mediation session yesterday, employer’s representatives did not see any purpose to using all of the time allotted to respond to the union’s proposal, even though committee members had come out in good faith to get a negotiated settlement between both parties.
The ball is now in the employer’s court, and the union is hoping to receive a satisfactory wage offer.