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CUPE members in Quebec are determined to protect their jobs and labour rights as the province moves to reorganize municipalities.

Delegates representing 32,000 municipal workers, including inside and outside workers, bus drivers and fire fighters, met this past week to confirm a plan of action.

The provincial minister of municipal affairs, Louise Harel, has delivered a white paper setting out a plan to reorganize and merge municipalities. With 1,300 municipalities for 7.3 million residents, CUPE agrees there are efficiencies to be gained through some mergers.

But CUPE has rejected a proposal that an arbitrator will be responsible for merging collective agreements when negotiations fail.

“This is completely unacceptable,” says Quebec regional director Gilles Charland. “We don’t need this measure. We foresee no major problems in harmonizing the collective agreements, since they are all quite similar in the large urban centres.”

CUPE has also opposed any move to weaken the protections in the Labour Code against contracting out.

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