STO service ruled non-essential a month after union secures strike mandate

The possibility of a winter bus strike in Gatineau is growing.

The Canada Industrial Relations Board ruled Monday the Société de Transport de l'Outaouais (STO) is not an essential service.

Bus drivers and maintenance workers voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike mandate a month ago. Workers have been without a contract for two years.

The Union has until the 9th of February to give the employer 72-hours notice of a strike. That notice could come as soon as Wednesday, as member of the Syndicat Uni du Transport local 591 meet to determine their next steps.

The Union had submitted an application to the CIRB, asking the service be deemed non-essential. The STO had applied for a ruling that would see bus service maintained during peak hours Monday to Friday. The STO also argued that, without bus services, ambulance and fire service response times would suffer, putting public safety at risk.

The CIRB sided with the Union saying it did not believe a strike would create an immediate and serious danger to the health and safety of the public.

The STO has issued a statement for riders here.