With a six-day strike mandate, the Common Front has launched its initial sequence of walkouts in six regions of Quebec in order to resolve the impasse in public-sector negotiations.

“To date, the government has not responded to demands that we tabled a year ago, concerning the impoverishment of public sector workers and the delay in compensation for all Quebecers,” explained Lucie Martineau, spokesperson for the SISP. “And as long as the government persists in imposing a two-year wage freeze for its employees – stonewalling our concerns – I cannot envisage a counterproposal from us.”

“The government’s intransigence has forced us to strike as a last resort,” says Daniel Boyer, president of the FTQ. “Until now, we have used all the resources at our disposal: we assembled more than 150,000 people in the streets of Montreal at the start of the month and we have shown openness and good faith at the bargaining table. But despite all this, the government negotiators still do not have the mandates to advance negotiations, at either the sectoral tables or the central table.”

“The Government has displayed a troubling lack of responsibility,” said Jacques Létourneau, president of the CSN. “Their totally unrealistic financial plan translates into massive cuts in all our public networks. At the same time, the government would like to carry out unprecedented attacks on the working conditions of its employees, which not only would undermine their ability to deliver quality services, but also could result in a dramatic loss of expertise in our public networks. And it is the entire population of Quebec that would suffer the consequences. This is why we will be on strike starting tomorrow: to stop the Liberal Party’s demolition plan.”

“Our goal has always been to arrive at a satisfactory negotiated agreement. We will even continue negotiating during the strike. But if the government persists in its intransigence, its reluctance to listen and its disregard for public sector workers, we will not hesitate to step up the walkouts in the coming weeks,” concluded the Common Front spokesperson.

Rotating strikes

The Common Front’s rotating strikes will include teachers, professional caregivers, other professionals, technicians, support and administrative staff, labourers and civil servants throughout the networks of health and social services institutions, school boards, CEGEPs, government agencies and the public service. The different regions of Quebec will alternate strikes this week on the following dates:

October 26: Outaouais, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Laurentides, Lanaudière, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Nord-du-Québec.

October 27: Québec-Chaudière-Appalaches, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Côte-Nord, Gaspésie-îles-de-la-Madeleine, and civil servants and labourers in Quebec’s public service and the Agence du revenu du Québec.

October 28: Eastern Townships, Montérégie and Centre-du-Québec and Mauricie

October 29: Montreal, Laval and employees of the Commission des droits de la personne et de la jeunesse

For information by region on which institutions will be on strike and when, see: www.frontcommun.org/greve

About the Common Front

The Common Front includes the Secrétariat intersyndical des services publics (SISP, comprising the CSQ, the SFPQ and the APTS), the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), and the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ). In all, these organizations represent more than 400,000 workers in health and social services, education, higher education and the Quebec public service. The public sector collective agreements expired on March 31, 2015.