On December 13, the blue-collar workers union and the City of Sherbrooke have reached an agreement on essential services to be maintained during the strike scheduled to run from December 26 to January 7.
The agreement was achieved through the mediation of the Essential Services Council, which will also enforce its application. It covers a range of situations where blue-collar workers will be expected to intervene: snowfall of ten inches in 48 hours, black ice, broken water mains, road subsidence, broken traffic lights, street cleanup after accidents, and other services. It also requires the maintenance of services such as drinking water, wastewater purification, and sanitation in key municipal buildings.
“The citizens of Sherbrooke need not worry. Their health and safety will not be compromised in any way during the strike. The blue-collar workers will provide essential services and will be ready to intervene in an emergency. And the strike will end at 11:59 p.m. on January 7,” said Michael Murray, CUPE Local 2729 representative.
“In over thirty years, there has been only one strike, which lasted two hours in 2005. This time, although there is no conflict on the issue of wages, there is a fundamental problem with human resources and labour relations. That’s why we find a period of seven years unacceptable.”
“The City refused to sign for a period of five years in February. As for the creation of permanent positions and compressed four-day work schedules, we believe it is possible to find solutions at a reasonable cost,” said Renald Dubé, CUPE Local 2729 president.
The approximately 400 Sherbrooke blue-collar workers are members of CUPE Local 2729. They work on the City’s roads, aqueducts and sewers, garbage collection, maintenance and signage, and in recreation centres, parks and ecocentres. They also include engineers, building engineers, arboriculturists, horticulturists, and others.