STO backs down from court injunction

Lawyers for both the Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) and the union representing drivers and mechanics have agreed not to proceed with a request for a court-ordered injunction, ahead of Thursday's planned rotating strike.

Société de transport de l'Outaouais and union agree not to square off in court

The union representing bus drivers and mechanics for Gatineau's transit service is planning to hold their next one-day work stoppage on Thursday, March 30. (Radio-Canada) (Giacomo Panico / CBC)

Lawyers for both the Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) and the union representing drivers and mechanics with Gatineau's transit agency have agreed not to proceed with a request for a court-ordered injunction.

The agreement comes one day before Thursday's planned rotating strike, the third since workers began their job action.

The STO has been locked in a labour dispute with Local 591 of the Syndicat uni du transport, who have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2014.

The transit agency had requested a judge impose an injunction on union members, forcing them to not block access or otherwise intimidate people at its administrative headquarters at 111 Rue Jean Proulx in Gatineau. But in the end, the STO decided the injunction was not necessary.

STO satisfied with agreement

In a news release Wednesday afternoon the STO said its intention in seeking the injunction was to establish firm parameters ensuring employees who were not part of the job action were not impeded from doing their jobs.  

The STO said it's satisfied the agreement will allow it to maintain normal operations despite the situation.

Judge Pierre Dallaire applauded both sides for coming to an agreement on the injunction, and expressed hope that they could make similar compromises with the overall negotiations as well.

Union disappointed

In its own news release Wednesday, the union said it was disappointed the transit agency opted to seek a judicial ruling because both sides had already agreed on March 20 that the union could use lobbying tools at its disposal, including rotating strikes, until the two sides could come to terms on a mode of arbitration.

The union said the STO's actions were both costly and unconducive to negotiation.

To increase pressure on the transit agency during negotiations, the union began rotating strikes earlier this month.

Drivers and mechanics have pledged to strike one day a week until management agrees to arbitration and the labour dispute is resolved.

On Tuesday, union president Felix Gendron announced that March 30 would be the next strike date.