STO labour dispute: Union, management reach arbitration agreement

STO and the union representing bus drivers and maintenance workers came to an arbitration agreement Thursday evening, putting an end to the rotating one-day strikes that began three weeks ago.

A note sent to members of Local 591 of the Syndicat uni du transport and obtained by Radio-Canada said other pressure tactics from drivers and maintenance workers will also come to an end on Friday. Workers had previously been flagging minor defects on buses and drivers wore yellow sweaters in protest. 

A union meeting is scheduled for April 4 to let workers know about the next steps.

Both sides declined to comment on the agreement Thursday, but a joint media release said arbitration will resolve the impasse in the presence of a mediator appointed by the Ministry of Labour.

The release came after many twists earlier in the day. Management presented a new offer to employees, which was rejected. Employees replied with a counter-offer soon after. 

A meeting between STO president Gilles Carpentier, union president Félix Gendron and Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin seems to have brought the two parties closer.

"If we agreed on arbitration, it would put an end to the conflict, so the population would no longer be held hostage," Gendron said earlier Thursday.