No to PQ strikebreaking legislation against construction workers!

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No to PQ strikebreaking legislation against construction workers!



About 175,000 construction workers have just completed their eighth day of strike action. The main issues relate to employer concession demands on overtime pay and work schedules.

Before the strike began, Minister Agnès Maltais said the PQ government would not use back-to-work legislation. Now Pauline Marois is giving every indication that she will do just that unless there's a settlement soon. The opposition Liberals and CAQ have of course been pushing her to threaten to break the strike. Mediated talks broke down today.

There is nothing "essential" about construction work, nor is the safety and health of the public jeopardized. Under international conventions, and provincial legislation, there is no excuse for breaking this strike - except to help the profit margins of the construction entrepeneurs.





A tentative agreement has been reached for 41,000 road and civil engineering workers - they're returning to work today. Talks have broken down in the commercial and industrial sector, where a mediator has been named. Negotiations continue in the residential sector.

Liberal leader Philippe Couillard is pushing Marois to legislate an end to the strike now.



I kept telling people who decided to vote PQ as the "wisest choice" that they were just stealing our (QS) platform to get votes, and that they would vote to cut social services, enforce back-to-work legislation, support environmentally-destructive projects... Don't like saying "told you so", as that is not what will win more support for a more progressive party in the next elections...

Grrr. So much for "workers' friends"...


Residential have apparently settled... more to come.

ETA: Confirmed. Another 57,000 workers are back today. That leaves 77,000 still on strike and in mediation.



If the mediator has a deal in his back pocket, the PQ can brag about their great victory in getting a negotiated agreement, with only a little leverage.

If there's no deal and they legislate tomorrow, the PQ can brag about how much they care about the economy.

Either way, it's a win-win. Except for the workers. And not just construction workers. All workers are now on notice that their sole economic weapon can be confiscated any time the employers pull the alarm.



You know, just once, I'd like to see a "special law" ending a strike that gives workers 50% MORE than what they were asking. You know, something for employers to consider next time they sit on their asses and wait for the government to hand them a victory. As it stands, it seems like the right to strike in Canada has become essentially nonexistent.


The National Assembly is sitting today in "special session" to break the construction strike and guarantee the profits of the construction capitalists.

Unable to shed crocodile tears any more about individual home projects and road works being delayed (because those 100,000 workers have settled tentatively and are back on the job), the representatives of the capitalists - PQ, Liberals, and CAQ - are now weeping about delays to the MUHC megahospital project (the one which led to the arrest of Arthur Porter and various SNC Lavalin executives on accusations of multi-million dollar bribes) and the hydro development of the La Romaine River (wish Boom Boom were around to tell us how much of a "loss" that project would be!).

The Liberals are blasting the PQ for not having intervened earlier. They are now making strange noises about how both sides of the conflict should be "heard" about the back-to-work legislation. The CAQ is afraid that the PQ will give the workers too much in back-to-work legislation, so they just want the current collective agreements extended for one year, the workers' strike crushed, and talks to continue. All, however, want the strike crushed, now.

Only Québec Solidaire has maintained a simple and democratic stand, calling for freely negotiated settlements, condemning any recourse to legislation, and pointing out the underlying driver of the dispute, which is the bosses' concession demands in the midst of massive profits.

It is said that for procedural reasons, the vote may only happen tomorrow. I'm waiting to see the text of the legislation.

ETA: Le Devoir says the draft bill has been tabled (which I don't understand because they're in recess from 11:30 to 13:30, but never mind), that it imposes the same wage increases as the road and civil engineering workers who settled last week, and that it calls for a return to work July 2 at 06:30. No other details, and I can't see it on the National Assembly website yet. It extends the collective agreements until 2017.

The mandated wage increases, rather than leaving the matter to arbitration or further negotiation, will give the Liberals and especially CAQ the opportunity to howl that the PQ is in the pocket of the unions, while everyone will agree that the PQ are not the enemies of democracy and of workers that crushing the strike would appear to confirm in spades.



The PQ has really shown its true colours - and its utter incompetency in managing a minority government to boot.

The Liberals and the CAQ, responding in knee-jerk fashion to their masters in the Employers' Council, have decided that the legislation (now called Bill 54) is too generous to the workers. They say that giving the remaining striking workers the same wage increases as those who have already settled (2% in 2013, 2.1% for 2014, 2.2% for 2015, and 2.3% for 2016), with other conditions remaining the same, leaves workers with no "incentive" to negotiate. What they mean is that the employers don't get the concessions they were looking for (including straight time instead of overtime for weekend "makeup" days, and reduction of double time to time-and-a-half in some circumstances). So, they have ganged up to instead favour a one-year continuation of the current collective agreement, along with a wage increase reflecting only the cost of living, and allow talks to continue - without, of course, the possibility of strikes or lockouts in the event of further impasse.

What next? We shall see...



[url= might withdraw bill to end strike[/url]


Labour Minister Agnès Maltais said Sunday that in the face of a united opposition, seeking what she termed “irresponsible” changes to her back-to-work bill, the Parti Québécois government could withdraw Bill 54.

“It could come to that,” Maltais told reporters.

But she remains hopeful she can reach an agreement with the Quebec Liberals and the Coalition Avenir Québec to adopt Bill 54 as it is proposed, saying the law would allow negotiations to continue.

The two main opposition parties in the Quebec National Assembly have enough members to outvote the PQ minority government.

What a shock! The PQ forgot it's in a minority!



Only Québec solidaire, the left-leaning party with two Assembly seats, is opposed to a legislated end to the strike.

“We have decided in Quebec to have a right of free negotiations,” said Françoise David, QS MNA for Montreal’s Gouin riding, adding the health and safety of Quebecers is not endangered by the strike.

“Let them negotiate,” added Amir Khadir, QS member of Mercier riding.


[url= of Bill 54 forces end to strike[/url]

Read it if you want. It makes me sick.



It is disgusting, especially in the light of all the stolen money construction contractors have been getting.


Yes, it is disgusting and is exactly what the Ontario Liberals did in Ontario with Bill 115 to public educators. In January, they struck down bill 115 but left all the draconian legislation in place - just a game.

And the newly elected Lib leader, Wynne, voted for it in cabinet and refused to change it and go back to bargaining.


janfromthebruce wrote:

Yes, it is disgusting and is exactly what the Ontario Liberals did in Ontario with Bill 115 to public educators. In January, they struck down bill 115 but left all the draconian legislation in place - just a game.

And the newly elected Lib leader, Wynne, voted for it in cabinet and refused to change it and go back to bargaining.


This is funny.


Brief communiqué from Québec solidaire:

Fast translation of final paragraph:

Québec solidaire reiterates its support and its solidarity with construction workers. Amir Khadir, MNA for Mercier recalls that "as we are getting ready to debate Québec values, it is worthwhile remembering that freedom of association, freedom to negotiate and the right to strike are values fully recognised by our Charters and our laws".