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“Nothing but minor adjustments: all the plans are still under attack”

Coalition press briefing, October 3, 2014. 
Photo Michel Chartrand.
Additional photos available on Facebook 

The Union Coalition for Free Negotiation was disappointed with the amendments to Bill 3 announced yesterday by Minister Moreau. According to the municipal employees representatives, these numerous and complex amendments, nothing but minor adjustments. “Essentially, nothing has changed. It’s still the same ˝across-the-board˝ approach and the same hatchet. All the plans, even those that are in excellent health, will be subjected to it. The outcome of negotiations is still written in advance,” according to Coalition spokesperson Marc Ranger.

“All the offensive and excessive elements are still there, including indexation for retirees, lack of respect for existing agreements, previous deficits or the cap, and cost sharing,” said Ranger. “We also regret that Minister Moreau did not specify in the preamble that the bill is designed to ensure the sustainability of the pension plans and not to lower the overall compensation of workers. He had committed to doing so but did not keep his word,” he said. 

While leaving the door open to discussion with the government, the Coalition will intensify its preparations for mobilization and legal challenge. 

Coalition member unions are preparing a set of pressure tactics, which could involve up to a 24-hour work stoppage in some cases. “Each group of employees has different constraints and possibilities. Our big “out-of-service” event will take these differences into account. It will target administrations and the government, and will be carried out in a disciplined manner, respectful of the laws and the population,” explained FEESP-CSN president Denis Marcoux, FPMQ president Éric Lebeau, RAPQ president Ronald Martin, and FMEPP president Yves Francœur.

The Coalition comprises more than 65,000 white-collar and blue-collar workers, firefighters, police, professionals, and employees of transportation companies. It represents most of the unionized municipal employees in Quebec. Its arguments are explained on the website librenego.com   

The Coalition consists of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-Québec) and its Municipal Sector Provincial Council as well as its Ground Transport Sector, the Fédération des employées et employés de services publics (FEESP-CSN), the Fédération indépendante des syndicats autonomes (FISA), the Fédération des policiers et policières municipaux du Québec, the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal, the Association des pompiers de Montréal, the Regroupement des associations de pompiers du Québec, and the Syndicat des pompiers et pompières du Québec – FTQ.