Negotiations continued this morning between representatives of the blue-collar workers union and City of Quebec as the parties came together for a five-day series of talks. The sessions are taking place in the presence of a conciliator from Quebec’s Ministère du Travail. The five days of intensive negotiations are currently scheduled to be followed by three additional days on December 12, 17 and 18.
Eddy Jomphe, union negotiator for CUPE, expects that the negotiations will continue into the new year but that, “The intensive talks at hand will drive extensive discussion and progress on a number of issues nonetheless. We have already been able to resolve several points based on progress at previous meetings.” He said that discussions this past fall were mutually beneficial and took place in a positive spirit.
Negotiations to date
Negotiations between Quebec City’s blue-collar workers and municipal government were launched in February 2011.
In November 2011, the workers requested the involvement of a ministry conciliator.
A total of 19 negotiation sessions have taken place between the parties since February 2011, ten of these in the presence of a mediator appointed by the province’s labour minister.
After halting on April 12, 2012, the negotiations resumed in September of this year in the form of two conciliation meetings a month held on September 13 and 14, October 15 and 26 and November 1 and 9.
A negotiation session scheduled for October 31 was cancelled in response to intemperate remarks from the mayor concerning zamboni operators.
No summit for blue-collar workers
Meanwhile, the blue-collar workers’ union has announced that it will not be taking part in the fourth annual “summit” on December 7 announced by mayor Régis Labeaume in keeping with the union’s history of declining invitations to the three previous summits.
Marc-André Dufour, president of the blue-collar workers’ union, reported that the workers’ position remains unchanged. “We prefer to hold talks in the form of negotiations supervised by the minister of labour in accordance with the Quebec Labour Code,” he said. “We respect the mayor, but we’re not interested in duplicating negotiating tables or the number of parties involved, and it’s important to us for discussions to take place in the presence of the ministry conciliator.”
Quebec City’s blue-collar workers, who number approximately 1350, have not exercised their right to strike in more than 25 years. They have been without a labour contract since December 31, 2010, and on an overtime strike since May 24, 2011.
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