MTC bus drivers and metro operators vote overwhelmingly in favor of strike mandate

It could spell trouble for Montreal transit users.

Montreal Transit Corporation bus drivers and metro operators have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike mandate.

4,500 union members voted 99 per cent in favour of pressure tactics Thursday night, which could include a general unlimited walkout.

"The management of the STM is not respectful of the 4,500 employees who provide millions of trips for Montrealers. In too many cases the circuits are completely unrealistic", said union chapter president Renato Carlone in a statement.

"These poorly planned trips stress passengers who are frustrating drivers and they pay the price for poor planning that creates serious workplace health and safety issues, " he added.

The union says, among other things, drivers are working in increasingly difficult conditions, including many construction sites.

Drivers say they're at an impasse following 23 negotiation sessions.

"This situation can easily be corrected if management makes a formal commitment to tackle this problem that affects both the public and our members," said Carlone.

The vote doesn't mean there'll be a strike.

If they walk out, essential services would be required.

Drivers ave been without a contract since January.

" I can get over it, I can find other ways to travel around the city... it can be on a bicycle or anything", said a commuter in an interview with CTV. 

Another commuter, however, said a walkout would prove very problematic for him.

"I don't use a car anymore and I like it, (public transit), it's fast and easy, normally realiable. So ya, it's a big difference to my life if they went on strike", said the man. 

MTC maintenance workers announced on Wednesday they would be refusing overtime next week, and not acknowledging last-minute shift changes.    

 

 

- With files from CTV