At present, the 2,400 maintenance workers of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) are fighting against demands for major concessions, such as the conversion of day shifts into evening and night shifts, the imposition of overtime and the privatization of services. The STM’s extortionist demand for concessions is facilitated by Bill 24, which the Couillard government adopted in 2016. The law imposes a timetable for the various stages of negotiations, leading directly to a decreed collective agreement if the Labour Minister decides that « negotiations » are not progressing.
Why would the STM negotiate if, in the end, it can decree workers’ conditions and impose concessions on them through police powers given to it by the government? The need to change this way of doing things is surely an election issue!
Municipal workers reject with contempt the claim that the attacks on bargaining and their conditions of work and retirement are democratic because they are enshrined in law. Far from it — what it shows is that the current institutions have been directly usurped by private interests and must be renewed by vesting the decision-making power in the people.