Malartic, Monday, April 28, 2003 - It is a sad anniversary for inside workers in the City of Malartic in Abitibi. The members, mostly women, have been locked out for a full year. On April 29, 2002, in a move to abolish the job security clause, the mayor of the municipality locked out the employees.
One year later, the seven inside workers are still in the street and the population, who firmly support the members, is fed up. Marjolaine Boutin, President of the inside workers union, affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-FTQ), pointed out that, in mid-October, the citizens of Malartic submitted a petition to the town hall demanding the resignation of the municipal council and bearing 600 signatures out of a total population of some 3,800 people. For its part, the union had gathered 950 signatures on its own petition.
Job Security at the Core of the Conflict
Job security is at the core of the differences between the municipal administration and the employees. It should be noted that the members had acquired this clause following a four and a half month strike in 1999.
From the start of the lock-out, the City has claimed that its financial situation does not allow it to maintain the members job security. Nevertheless, it refuses to provide the Union with documents which would verify this claim. Elected municipal officials have even asked the Commission daccs0020 006cinformation to block any such request. The Union is convinced that the City is trying to hide something and that the lock-out is abusive and unjustified.
In October, an inquiry carried out by the ministr0065 du Travail concluded that the Municipality had violated the Labour Code by hiring a scab to perform duties normally carried out by the locked-out employees.
Union Members and Citizens Take Their Protest to the Streets
A demonstration will be held in the streets of Malartic to draw attention on this sad anniversary. On Saturday, May 10, a march has been organized by the municipal sector of CUPE, together with the FTQ unions in Abitibi-Tm0069scamingue. Departing from Tim Hortons around 2:30 p.m., the demonstrators will march to the Town Hall.
CUPE represents about 70% of all municipal employees in Qub0065c and is active in 10 other sectors of activity including health and social services, education, urban and air transportation, hydroelectricity, provincial corporations and public organizations and communications. With close to 100,000 members in Qub0065c, CUPE is the largest FTQ affiliate.
This press release and other information are posted on the Internet at scfp.qc.ca