Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

Santa Drives a Bus

Posted on | February 8, 2011 | No Comments

While some may find the suburbs boring, I have to admit that the 450 landscape is rather colourful these days. Thus I had the chance to sit in a bus last week-end, which was driven by Santa Claus himself! SuperBowl Sunday special? Not at all… today’s driver wore a splendid pink bib. I know some people consider this a fetish, but this was grotesque rather than sexy, believe me. It’s official: unions are stepping up the pressure again.

I’m not privy to all the details in this conflict, but I’ve discover after a quick search that one of the union’s demands is to install portable WC along the drivers’ runs. I’m no expert, but I can hardly imagine a driver abandoning his 30 minutes run, leaving a busload of passengers stranded on the street, in order to relieve himself urgently. Considering the number of convenience stores, gas stations and other public areas, it would be a lot more sensible to allow drivers finishing their runs to visit these places. That still leaves the risk of leaving a bus on its own for a few minutes (WC or not). Some office workers make do with one pause every two hours. Our colourful drivers could probably hold back another half-hour.

Since I know one of these drivers, I can assure you that their working conditions are quite comfortable. And while often in privately held companies unions play a major role in defending important stakeholders (employees), in the case of public services the stakeholders are passengers and taxpayers, and these are spurned by the union. I witnessed today my bib-wearing driver performing unsightly gestures and yelling abuse towards some car drivers on the road. This is rather disquieting and highlights the ignorance of a simple fact: the RTL service must be courteous to all South Shore residents, whether they are passengers or not at this time.

But these means of pressure have opened my eyes to a fact: some unions do not realize when the cup is full, and that they are not the only stakeholders entitled to a slice of the pie.

Les moyens de pression m’ont effectivement conscientisé – au fait que certains syndicats ne réalisent pas quand la coupe est pleine, et qu’ils ne sont pas les seuls ayant-droits à réclamer leur part du gâteau. Unfortunately, this has a negative impact on the credibility of unions who fight in businesses were working conditions are indeed unacceptable.

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  • Photographie par Patrick Meunier

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