- STM officers have begun to employ a negotiating tactic well known to Montrealers: camouflage pants.
- Now, however, the STM has begun to send home officers whose pants it deems could jeopardize their safety or that of passengers.
Dozens of STM officers were sent home this morning for violating the company's dress code, according to STM spokesperson Phillipe Déry. The inspectors were wearing camo pants to protest the STM's new collective agreement.
"Not wearing their uniforms might have compromised the safety of the inspectors and commuters," said Déry to MTL Blog. To assist with the shortage of inspectors, the STM enlisted some officers from the SPVM's Metro Division.
According to CTV News, the STM is aiming for its inspectors to work 12-hour shifts with a two-hour break. Apparently, 170 inspectors will be wearing camo pants to protest this agreement. MTL Blog reached out to union officials but hasn't received comments.
The SPVM also declined to comment on the matter. This isn't the first time that Montrealers have seen camo pants adorning the legs of authority figures. From 2014 to 2017, unionized SPVM officers wore camo pants to protest a bill that promised pension reform. An agreement was reached after three long years of SPVM officers wearing everything from camo pants to zebra print leggings.
While no one has spotted a truly absurd pair of pants (yet), the STM hopes that the inspectors union will accept a request to mediate.
For now, the STM will "tolerate" the pants as long as they don't pose a safety or security problem.
As we've seen with police unions, pressure tactics such as these have a strong effect on negotiations. The SPVM, for example, successfully negotiated for better pension reform.
In 2017, former Quebec MNA Martin Coiteux said that camo pants "hurt the public's confidence" with the police, according to the CBC.
In the STM's case, the inspectors' union believes that plans to have a 12-hour workday with only one 2-hour break can interfere with an inspector's personal life.
Last summer, STM bus and metro operators voted for a strike mandate to pressure STM management to better plan trips.
Although the STM will "tolerate" STM inspectors wearing camo pants, they hope that they can come to an agreement with the union as soon as possible.
There's no word as to whether or not the inspectors will formally commit to a strike but the public should keep an eye out for any inspectors wearing silly pants.
We'll see if more STM inspectors will join in protest over the next few days.
If anyone spots an STM inspector wearing camo pants in the next few days, be sure to send us your photos to @MTLBlog on Instagram!
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only and, in fact, shows SPVM officers in camouflage pants.