At a general meeting, members of CUPE 1983 voted 99% in favour of resorting to pressure tactics that could extend to an unlimited general strike. Discussions have bogged down on several issues, but the main one is the time the STM allows drivers to complete a bus trip.
“The management of the STM is showing a lack of respect towards the 4,500 employees who help millions of Montrealers get around the city. In too many cases, the trips are totally unrealistic. These poorly-planned trips stress out passengers, who take out their frustrations on the drivers, and they pay the price for the poor planning that creates serious occupational health and safety problems,” explained Renato Carlone, president of CUPE 1983.
These professionals must ply their trade under increasingly complex conditions. The numerous construction sites, the sharing of the road with, among others, a rising number of cyclists and the varying speed limits (30, 40 and 50 km/h) affect how one gets around, but these factors are disregarded when trips are developed.
“This situation could be easily rectified if management formally committed to taking on this problem, which affects both the public and our members,” added Carlone.
Other contentious issues at the bargaining table include the management of sick workers, which stems directly from the aforementioned problems, the planning of adapted transit and inequities in the pension plan.
The collective agreement has been expired since January 8, 2018. The parties have taken part in 23 bargaining sessions. STM drivers have not taken a strike vote since 2007.