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Montreal public transit authority to cut 255 jobs, says union

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A union representing workers at Montreal's public transit authority (STM) claims the company is cutting 255 positions to help overcome its deficit.

In a press release, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 2850 said the STM (Société du Transport de Montréal) informed staff of the slashes on Wednesday.

"We are deeply concerned over this announcement, especially since the detailed plan has not been forthcoming. Our main objective is to minimize the impact of these changes on our members and on the services to the community," reads a quote from CUPE 2850 president Stéphane Lamont.

The union, which represents administrative, technical and support staff, argues its members will be most affected by the cuts "as the STM has promised not to reduce services to transit riders."

"Non-unionized, unionized, administrative and professional jobs will be affected, in particular," the statement outlines.

When contacted by CTV News, the STM did not specify how many positions would be eliminated, but confirmed it's reducing its payroll by 5 per cent.

"We are making every effort to optimize our spending. In fact, we have committed to generating savings of $100 million over five years, without affecting our service offering. A 5 per cent reduction in our payroll is one of the measures we have taken to achieve our goal," reads a statement.

"We are now finalizing the 2024 budget, following last week's confirmation of the ARTM [Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain]'s remuneration. We will therefore be in a position to provide an update once the budget has been approved."

The ARTM, which oversees transit companies in Greater Montreal, was locked in a back-and-forth with Quebec's Transport Ministry last month over funding.

While Quebec initially proposed to cover just 20 per cent of transit companies' deficits, that figure was eventually bumped to 70 per cent after providers like the STM warned of possible service cuts.

CUPE 2850 said it will meet with the STM in the next week to further discuss the restructuring.

Christine Black, the Official Opposition critic for public transit at City Hall, denounced the cuts.

''The Société de transport de Montréal presented a 2024 budget with a 63-member workforce reduction. Then, in front of the City of Montreal's elected officials last Friday, the STM's General Manager spoke of cutting 120 positions. Today, we learn that it will be 255 positions," she said in a written statement.

"Montrealers need to get their facts straight and stop being lied to."

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