The union representing OC Transpo drivers and maintenance staff is calling the city’s leave policy “dangerous and unfair,” to transit staff in the face of the upcoming flu season.
In a move to curb unusually high absentee rates among drivers, OC Transpo stopped granting special permission days, split vacation days or requests for leave to drivers until the rates have dropped.
A memo to employees last week revealed that during the last two weeks of September, nearly 10 per cent of the available drivers called in sick.
Yesterday, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 president Andre Cornellier fired back at OC Transpo, stating that such a policy runs contrary to the advice of the city’s own medical staff.
“The experts are telling us what to do — stay home if you’re sick,” said Cornellier. “Forcing sick employees to come into work will just increase the risk to everyone.”
Cornellier said drivers are coming into contact with sick people taking the bus to doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics and hospitals every day. Combined with the stressful conditions at OC Transpo, he said it should be no surprise that drivers and mechanics are getting sick more often than office workers.