Quebec City bus drivers call off Monday's strike

Quebec City's bus drivers union has reached a tentative deal with the public transit authority, the RTC, quelling fears that the city's transit system could grind to a near-halt next week.

The CSN, the labour federation with which the bus drivers union is affiliated, announced in a Friday afternoon statement that the drivers were dropping their plans to strike on Monday morning.

"All our buses will circulate according to their regular schedules all day, all week and in the weeks to come," said the head of the RTC, Rémy Normand.

"It's excellent news for all the parties involved and, most of all, our clients," he said.

Municipal public transit is considered an essential service, but a strike would still have reduced Quebec City's bus service to the most heavily used commuter routes during rush hour on both weekdays and weekends.

Nomade — the GPS system that allows users to track where buses are in real time — will also be back in use tomorrow morning. As a pressure tactic, bus drivers had stopped turning on the system three weeks ago.

Members vote next week

The union will keep the proposed deal confidential until its 950 members vote on it in two general assemblies, March 15 and 16. The union is not providing further comment beforehand.

A negotiation blitz lasting more than thirty hours finally led the two sides to Friday afternoon's agreement.

The city's 950 bus drivers had been without a contract since June 30, 2016. Salaries, pensions and the organization of driver workloads were the main sticking points.