Gatineau mayor: bus strike in nation's capital is 'hurting thousands of people'
Ahead of a second one-day bus strike set for Tuesday, the mayor of Quebec’s fourth-largest city warned his transit service and its union to “intensify the talks” because the ongoing job action is “hurting thousands of people” in the National Capital Region.
Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said he was “very, very worried” about the impact of the rotating strike on transit ridership during a wide-ranging interview that touched on affordable housing, greening buildings, future Gatineau light rail and his city’s relationship with its neighbour Ottawa and the federal and Quebec governments.
“I keep in mind every day these days that it took years after the Ottawa strike to get citizens, that left public transit because of the strike, back onto buses. It took years to catch up to the old numbers,” he said. Thousands of public servants and other workers travel between Gatineau and Ottawa Monday to Friday.
“There’s a price to pay in signing something that is not reasonable, but there’s also a price in having a strike that lasts too long, because when people leave public transit, we all lose.”
Gatineau’s bus drivers and maintenance workers in the Syndicat uni du transport labour union walked off the job Thursday as part of a rotating set of one-day strikes, after bargaining talks with the bus service, Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) ground to a halt.
“There’s always two sides to a coin,” said Pedneaud-Jobin when asked about his message to frustrated people. “If we sign onto offers that are absolutely not reasonable at this time, there’s a heavy price to pay."
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