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Municipal workers in Montreal have denounced plans by the Quebec government to assume direct responsibility for administering social assistance in the city. For the past 30 years, city staff have provided this service directly.

The best way to control poverty in Montra006c is to keep services close to the people and ensure that all the City’s other services work toward this common objective,” said Daniel Papillon Demers, president of the CUPE local that represents City of Montreal inside workers.

In a meeting last spring, the government promised union leaders there would be a tripartite review of the service, with representation from the province, the city and the union. But this past week, media reports indicate the province intends to centralize responsibility for service delivery.

About 1,000 members of the 8,000 member local work in social services. In a consultation carried out last year, 85 per cent indicated they wished to maintain their employment connection with the City.

There is no question of allowing years of effort to be destroyed,” said Demers. “Our members have worked with beneficiaries since the creation of social assistance and we have no intention of giving up our role and expertise in this area”