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Sherbrooke, QC – This afternoon, following a blitz that began on Thursday morning, the negotiating teams of the Sherbrooke blue-collar workers union (Syndicat des cols bleus de Sherbrooke) and the City of Sherbrooke accepted the conciliator’s final recommendation. The renewal of the collective agreement, which expired on December 31, 2007, and an end to the general strike launched on July 31, are now in sight.

In the coming days, the parties need to reach an agreement on a protocol for returning to work. They will then submit the recommendation to their respective bodies for approval: a general assembly of the blue-collar workers’ union and the City Council of Sherbrooke. The union representatives will present the details of the recommendation to their members before discussing it publicly.

“Through negotiating efforts on Friday afternoon, a recommendation from the conciliator was well received by both parties. This was the result of the path taken by the City and the efforts of the conciliator. The process is not completed, but we are nearing a return to work with a new employment contract in our pocket,” noted Michel Murray, representing the Syndicat des cols bleus de Sherbrooke.

“For our part, our members will have the final word, in a vote by secret ballot at a general meeting. I would also like to acknowledge the mobilization and support of the blue collar workers: they have been absolutely fantastic throughout the negotiations,” added Murray.

The 450 Sherbrooke blue-collar workers are members of CUPE Local 2729. They work on the City’s roads, aqueducts and sewers, garbage collection, maintenance and signage, and in recreation centres, parks and ecocentres. They also include engineers, building engineers, arboriculturists, horticulturists, and others.