Quebec City blue collar workers vote to strike

Union issues strike notice after learning of impending layoffs
||Last Updated: 04/27/2012

The union representing Quebec City's outside workers says its members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike mandate.

About 952 municipal workers cast ballots and voted 98 per cent in favour of striking.

The city’s 1,350 blue-collar employees — represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) — have been without a contract since December 2010. The parties have met 13 times over the past year, including four times with a provincial mediator, according to the union.

Talks between the parties broke off abruptly on April 12 when the union obtained an internal memo from the CEO foreshadowing large-scale cuts.

The city issued 162 layoff notices on April 17, but the union quickly filed a motion with the Commission des relations du travail du Québec (CRT) asking for the layoffs to be deemed illegal.

UPDATE: 162 Quebec City layoffs illegal: Labour board

The layoffs are illegal because a private company has been hired to complete the work normally done by the workers and it should be considered an illegal lockout to intimidate workers, the union said in a press release.

The CRT will hear the case on April 20.

CUPE says it has a strike date in mind, but must give seven days notice before any job action takes place.

The key issues in the dispute are wages and workload.

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