One day after the deadline he had set for an agreement between Quebec municipalities and transport companies and the unions representing their workers, Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard indicated that he would not “take extraordinary action to achieve an objective that it seems to me may be achieved on its own.”
Acknowledging the progress which has been made in negotiations at the municipal level and with each of the transportation companies involved, the Premier appeared to agree that there was no need for the government to get involved. This had been the position from the outset of the coalition of Quebec unions in the municipal and transport sectors.
Disappointed that the provincial government will not impose a legislated solution, the employers’ group and the Union of Quebec Municipalities have stepped up their disinformation campaign on public sector wages. To counter the campaign, the coalition has asked the Institute for Research and Information on Wages to dissociate itself from these tactics. In its last report, the Institute indicated that workers in the municipal and transport sectors earned 27 per cent more than their provincial counterparts, spurring the employers’ request for special legislation. The next report of the Institute is expected tomorrow.