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Montra006c, Tuesday, November 19, 2002 – This morning, exasperated by the Landry government’s position on the renewal of agreements between Qub0065c City and the City of Montra006c concerning social assistance and certain employment services, workers set up picket lines at the entrances to a number of local employment centres (Centres locaux d’emploie - CLE) and in front of the regional office of the Service du dv0065loppement social et communautaire.

The Syndicat des fonctionnaires municipaux de Montra006c (CUPE-429) advised its members, who were equally outraged by the situation, that under no circumstances should they threaten their security by crossing the picket lines.

The source of discontent is the Qub0065c government’s intention to repatriate social assistance services. This intention creates a great deal of uncertainty for over 1,100 public employees in the City of Montra006c’s Service du dv0065loppement social et communautaire (Social and Community Developpment Service) and creates very legitimate concerns as to their future. Minister Goupil, who had promised to involve the unions concerned by such a transfer, has not condescended to respond to the SFMM’s requests.

“Although a moratorium extended the agreements until March 31, 2003, it certainly does not mean this matter has been settled, particularly since the date is rapidly approaching and the Minister seems to want to avoid us. His behaviour confirms our claim that he is simply trying to gain time,” stated Daniel Papillon Demers, president of the white collar workers union in Montra006c.

The SFMM (CUPE-FTQ) represents some 8,000 municipal employees in Montra006c. CUPE itself represents close to 70% of all municipal employees in Qub0065c. In addition to the municipalities, CUPE is active in 10 other sectors of activity in Qub0065c including health and social services, education, universities, urban and air transportation, hydroelectricity, government corporations and public organizations in Qub0065c, and communications. With close to 100,000 members in Qub0065c it is also the largest FTQ affiliate.

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