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After cutting back on financing public transit in 1992, the Québec government is now calling on the private sector to solve the problem by attacking wages and working conditions.

The Liberal government of the day, led by Claude Ryan, transferred all responsibility for public transit to municipalities. Twelve years later, public transit systems are suffering from chronic underfunding. In Montréal, for example, the end of provincial support has cost the system $750 million over ten years.

But instead of reinvesting in public transit, the Charest government wants to hand over responsibility for operating buses to the private sector, giving them a mandate not to increase funding, but to cut costs.

We see the Charest government has no intention of correcting the underfunding problem, said CUPE 1983 president Claude Benoît. His only goal is to privatize these services so that his friends on the board of trade can fill their pockets with lucrative contracts on the backs of workers.

Benoît vowed that his local and 6,500 other CUPE members in public transit in Québec would fight this move.