STM maintenance workers vote in favour of strike mandate

Workers who repair and service Montreal's buses and Metros voted 98 per cent in favour of a six-day rotating strike mandate on Sunday.

Main sticking points are overtime hours and schedules

The collective agreement for STM maintenance workers expired last month. (Radio-Canada)

Maintenance employees with Montreal's public transit authority have voted overwhelmingly approved a six-day rotating strike mandate.

The 2,400 STM workers who repair and service Montreal's buses and Metros voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike on Sunday at the union's general assembly meeting.

"It sends a clear message to our employer," said union president Gleason Frenette.

The union argues the STM is "attacking the different work-life balance measures" secured by workers in the past, saying employees have had enough of their demands. 

The main sticking points are obligatory overtime hours and a shift in current flexible schedules. 

"Our members are not on that track at all," said Frenette. "It's the complete opposite of what's currently happening in the job market."

The workers' collective agreement expired on Jan. 6. The two sides have met nearly 30 times in hopes of forging a new deal since last April.

Despite the vote in favour of pressure tactics, Frenette said there are no set days planned for a strike and the union is still ready to negotiate.

"We want to avoid a strike as long as we can," he said.

With files from Radio-Canada and la Presse Canadienne