CUPE salutes the municipalities that have taken steps to redeploy their staff to minimize the effect on their workforce, while taking on many initiatives to come to the aid of the people on their territory. It has been said that that municipalities are nearby governments, which must be the case more than ever when a crisis hits.
Several cities including Montréal and Trois-Rivières and several other municipalities are redeploying their personnel to provide more support to citizens and community organizations while confinement measures are in force.
Nonetheless, some municipalities have decided to go forward with massive layoffs without further ado despite the fact they are on the front line to provide services locally to the public.
Usually when the time comes to set up essential services when labour conflicts could possibly arise, these very municipalities demand that almost all of their personnel be maintained, failing which the health and safety of people could be jeopardized.
Unfortunately, some cities take advantage of the situation in an indecent way. Many lose their jobs and Quebec families greatly suffer the consequences. Municipalities should set an example and try everything to minimize the human impacts of the crisis.
Quebec City has laid off its auxiliary employees, and some other cities will proceed with massive layoffs, even though there will not be any commensurate reduction of the municipal taxes that taxpayers will have to pay. CUPE has denounced this decision, which has left more precarious workers in the lurch when they too will have to make it through these difficult times.
“We are appealing to the Quebec Union of Municipalities, which must bring some of its members into line. Our unions in the municipal sector all over Quebec have agreed to and negotiated relaxations of provisions in the collective agreements to address this unprecedented situation,” declared the Director of CUPE-Quebec, Marc Ranger.
“We want to help people and be useful, and it is so important at a time when the pandemic is hitting increasing numbers of people everywhere in Quebec,” said the president of CUPE-Quebec Benoît Bouchard.
CUPE has every hope that the municipalities that have taken these drastic measures will review their stance and not act in a way that puts numerous employees in a precarious situation.