More than 5,000 municipal employees across Quebec launched a day-long strike on Nov. 26 to protest the province’s pension reform. One day earlier, on Nov. 25, thousands of municipal workers across Quebec took to the street for 15 minutes to express their dissatisfaction. Further demonstrations are expected.
The employees — represented by the Coalition Syndicale pour la Libre Négotiation (Union Coalition for Free Negotiation) — are holding demonstrations outside city halls and workplaces in 18 cities across Quebec. The Coalition is calling on workers to speak out against the tabling of Bill 3 on pension plans.
Bill 3, introduced in June, will see employers and employees sharing a 50/50 split in contributions to the municipal pension plan. Additionally, retirees may be required to contribute to pension shortfalls as the province attempts to address a pension plan deficit of $4 billion.
Critics of the bill claim it steamrolls negotiation rights and overlooks the more than 120 collective agreements governing municipal workers throughout the province.
The strike was given the green light by the Quebec Labour Relations Board after the Coalition committed to providing residents with essential services. While police and firefighters have been vocal in their opposition to Bill 3, they are not allowed to strike.
The majority of municipal employees in Quebec are part of the Coalition’s membership.
The Coalition consists of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-Quebec), the Fédération des Employées et Employés de Services Publics (FEESP-CSN), the Fédération Indépendante des Syndicats Autonomes (FISA), the Fédération de Policiers et Policières Municipaux du Québec, the Association des Pompiers de Montréal, the Regroupement des Associations de Pompiers du Québec and the Syndicat des Pompiers et Pompières du Québec.
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