Quebec public sector workers call for more strike days

Four powerful Quebec labour unions have formed a common front

Quebec public sector union workers who walked off the job earlier this week have announced three more strike days for Nov. 21 to 23, unless a deal can be reached before then with the provincial government.

Around 420,000 public sector employees were on strike last Monday as part of a one-day walkout to protest the Quebec government’s latest contract offer.

They disrupted schools, health-care facilities and social services. Union members, who are seeking better wages and improved working conditions, dismissed the government’s latest offer which was made on Oct. 28.

Common front formed

The workers from various unions (Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS) and Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) have formed a common front.

“Everything in Quebec will be closed for three days,” CSN vice-president François Enault said earlier this week during a news conference regarding the upcoming strike days. An FTQ leader said the workers will walk off the job again unless the government returns to the negotiating table with better offers.

They rejected gov’t offer

The provincial government’s latest contract offer included an increase of 10.3 per cent over five years for base salaries, which was just over a percentage point higher than the previous offer. However, some jobs would get an extra 2.5 to three per cent increase from the government.

The common front is demanding an increase of up to 20 per cent over the next three years. The impact of the strike last Monday was felt at public schools throughout the province, where teachers picketed and classes could only start by late morning or by the afternoon.