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Longueuil citizens will have to do without their public swimming pools in Brossard as of Monday, July 28. Some 70 workers at the pools, including lifeguards and monitors, have not yet come to an agreement with their employer.

Bargaining, which began in April, was intensified last week in the presence of a conciliator appointed by the Labour Department. But late on Friday afternoon, the talks bogged down over the wage issue. Employees at the eight pools in Brossard, 80 per cent of whom are women, are paid $7.35 an hour while their unionized colleagues at the other pools in the City of Longueuil earn over $10.

At the end of the day on Friday, the employer quite simply decided to ignore our latest proposals and left the bargaining table, said Alain Langlois, president of the inside workers in the City of Longueuil (CUPE 306). Brossard has six outdoor and two indoor pools. Owned by the City of Longueuil, the pools in Brossard are managed by a sub-contractor, les Entreprises Aquasplash Inc. The other public pools in Longueuil, which are managed by the municipality, are not affected by this labour dispute and will remain open.

Public swimming pool employees in Brossard have been unionized since October 2002 and are seeking a first collective agreement with working conditions similar to those already agreed upon for the other pools in Longueuil.