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The Syndicat des fonctionnaires municipaux de Montréal (CUPE-FTQ), which represents thousands of City of Montreal white-collar workers, has accused the Tremblay-Appelbaum administration of trying to save money at the expense of women. Although the pay equity settlement was finalized in December 2010 after a fourteen-year wait, the administration has not paid a penny to the workers in any of the categories requiring salary adjustments.

It appears that some City officials have no problem spending $25.7 million for a new planetarium, $12.4 million for renovations to the Hélène de Champlain restaurant and $11 million for the cancellation of the water meter contract, and the union is outraged that the City of Montreal runs the other way when it comes to paying its debt to its own employees.

“It’s despicable,” fumed union president Monique Côté. “This employer has no sense of responsibility and is giving no recognition to the thousands of women who have suffered over the years, and are still suffering, from wage discrimination. Instead of hastening to correct the situation, it keeps coming up with tactics to evade a law that is blatantly clear,” she said.

“With the City biding its time in this way, it will be the taxpayers who will foot the bill as the interest accrues,” warned Côté. “We are making an appeal to the municipal officials and the taxpayers to restore common sense and abide by the provisions of the law. We must end wage discrimination once and for all in Montreal and correct past mistakes. If the City can find the money for a new planetarium, a new restaurant, and $11 million in damages and costs for the cancellation of the water meters, it should be able to honour its debt to its own employees,” Côté concluded.

The City of Montreal is the second largest public sector employer in the province, after the Government of Quebec. It has decided to apply the Pay Equity Act differently from every other employer in Quebec in order to reduce the amounts due to its own employees.

The union has filed a complaint and a dispute with the pay equity commission regarding the City’s refusal to pay what it owes in salary adjustments.