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Surprise strike by STM maintenance workers ruled illegal

A stock image of an STM bus in Montreal.
Maintenance workers at the STM have been without a collective agreement since January. The Canadian Press Images/Lee Brown

Quebec’s administrative labour tribunal has ruled a surprise strike on Thursday by Montreal’s public transit authority maintenance workers was illegal.

The tribunal held a late meeting on Thursday after about 500 employees with the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) suddenly walked off the job for 90 minutes earlier in the day.

READ MORE: STM wants injunction to prevent maintenance workers from striking

In his decision, Judge Guy Blanchet wrote that since the right to strike was not acquired by the union representing maintenance workers, the public had a right to regular public transit service.

As a result, he is ordering STM maintenance workers to end all illegal pressure tactics. They must also work their scheduled hours.

READ MORE: STM maintenance workers take to the streets over forced overtime

The union said on Thursday, it didn’t call for workers to strike. It said employees were upset with comments made by the public transit authority’s director general during a televised interview with TVA.

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Maintenance workers and management have been at the bargaining table since last year. Some 2,400 maintenance staff have been without a collective agreement since Jan. 6.

The main sticking points are forced overtime and scheduling.