Labour dispute interrupts bus service in Montreal's east end

East-end commuters dealing with the season's first snowfall had an added challenge: a service disruption on 23 lines that depart from the STM's transport centre in Anjou.

Union says work stoppage, linked to issue with lack of training, wasn't planned

Service was disrupted on 23 routes, the ones on which buses depart from the STM's transport centre in Anjou. (Radio-Canada)

Service on a number of bus lines was paralyzed Monday morning after some unionized bus drivers working out of the STM's transport centre in Anjou refused to leave the depot.

STM spokeswoman Isabelle Tremblay said the drivers have a problem with new rules from the SAAQ, Quebec's automobile insurance board, which come into effect today.

Daniel Leroux, vice-president of the bus drivers' union, told CBC's French-language service, Radio-Canada, the rules have to do with changes to how drivers fill out their log books before hitting the road.

The union asked for drivers to be trained. The STM determined holding one information session at each of the eight transport centres would be adequate, he said.

However, Leroux said a number of drivers who work out of the Anjou centre missed the sessions. The union asked for the information to be delivered to the centre Friday, but it never came.

The drivers could be fined if they don't fill out the document properly, Leroux said, so this morning they didn't get into their buses until they were informed properly.

Tremblay said the directive came from a former union leader who works at the Anjou depot. Leroux will only say that the idea didn't come from the union.

"There wasn't one driver who got in to work today who was thinking he wouldn't be taking his bus out this morning," he said.

By about 8:30 a.m., the STM tweeted that all the drivers were back on the road but that commuters may encounter delays.

Tremblay said there will be consequences for the drivers, but she did not elaborate on what they might be.