Quebec government forces prosecutors back to work

Legislation dictates salary increases rather than applying binding arbitration
By Gordon Sova
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 02/22/2011

The two-week-old Quebec Crown prosecutors’ strike was ended early on February 22 with legislation to force them back to work.

Bill 135 was introduced on February 21 and passed in an all-night session. Rather than sending the parties to binding arbitration, it substitutes the wage increases negotiated in the broader public sector agreement reached last fall. Salary was the largest issue for the union, the Association des juristes de l’État.

The bill includes several harsh measures against the union and members if they do not return to work by 1 p.m. on Tuesday. These include withholding union dues, and fines of $100 to $500 for individual members, $7,000 to $35,000 for union officials and $25,000 to $125,000 for the union.

Several unions reacted strongly to the law. The Syndicat de a la function publique du Québec called the government “regressive and controlling.” Several Crown prosecutors have reportedly already resigned.

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