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The 120 lawyers working at Quebec youth centres were recently awarded a significant catch-up pay increase. Their entire pay scale has been adjusted upward by between $4 for lower levels and approximately $8 for upper levels for an overall increase of 15 per cent.

The move brings the lawyers much closer to pay equity with their colleagues working for the Crown, legal aid and other government entities.

The agreement was negotiated jointly by the FTQ, the CSN and the CSQ. Regarding the FTQ, all the lawyers involved are CUPE members working in the metropolitan region and Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

“The demonstrations on March 18 had results,”stated Serge Morin, assistant director of CUPE Quebec and FTQ spokesperson at the negotiating table.“These gatherings in cities and towns across Quebec benefited the bargaining process at a critical time. Lawyers at the youth centres won their increase, and this is going to go a long way toward helping labour recruitment and retention.”

“We are now very close to total parity,” Morin explained. “Our next objective is to win recognition for GPERP purposes of the expert level, which currently falls beyond the last pay level. We will be bringing up this issue the next time the collective agreement comes up for renewal.”

Readers will remember that Crown prosecutors were awarded a 15 per cent pay increase in 2011. A similar increase was subsequently granted to government and legal aid lawyers and their counterparts at other agencies operated by the Quebec government.