Inside workers with the Office d’habitation de Longueuil, OHL, began a three-day strike lasting until July 10 to assert their demands following a year of unsuccessful negotiations and several conciliation sessions.

The OHL claims it cannot offer its employees decent conditions because it depends on financing from the Société d’habitation du Québec, SHQ, which is funded directly by the Conseil du trésor.

“It is unacceptable that a public body with a social mission such as the OHL is unable to provide adequate working conditions to its 35 employees in the midst of a cost-of-living and housing crisis,” said Simon Beaulieu, representative for CUPE 5499.

The mission of a housing agency is to guarantee low-cost housing to persons on modest incomes. However, due to the current housing shortage, one-third of OHL workers are eligible for social housing programs they themselves administer due to their low pay.

“If we have to drive home our message to the SHQ, we’ll do so, and if we have to approach the Conseil du trésor directly, we’ll do so. But allowing our members to slide into poverty in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis is something we won’t stand for,” said Beaulieu.

Earlier during the course of these negotiations, CUPE waged a campaign to draw the employer’s attention to its low retention rate attributable to the poor conditions offered to its workers, close to two-thirds of whom (21 of 33) have fewer than two years’ seniority.