April 17, 2024

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Possible strike on Halloween: Unions clash with Francois Legault

Possible strike on Halloween: Unions clash with Francois Legault

François Legault has suggested there could be a “big strike” on Halloween, but unions insist that is not the case.

• Read More – Negotiations in Public Works: General Front moves towards general strike

“We are hearing that there is going to be a big strike on October 31,” the Prime Minister said on Tuesday, reacting to the very strong strike order received by the Public Sector General Front.

The statement caused consternation among unions, which insist they are not seeking a strike on Halloween. “There is no strike on October 31,” wrote a spokesperson for the QMI agency.

“Discussions are ongoing and the government should take the strike referendum of 95% public sector employees seriously and it will be implemented in due course,” it added.

In this regard, Premier Legault said the salary increase proposed by the government is “reasonable” and “respects Quebecers’ ability to pay.”

“Yes, it’s a differentiated offering,” he admitted. “So there is a raise for night nurses, psychologists, certain groups. But to say that we’re increasing the wages of half a million Quebec workers by 13%, I don’t think we qualify as an unfair concession.

Minutes earlier, Treasury Board President Sonia Lebel assured that “nobody wants a strike” and condemned the union’s “standing still” position.

He recalled asking the unions to narrow down their demands to a few priority demands. “If this priority is not made on the union side, we will never get there,” she said, adding that according to her, the government has already gone some way.

Opposition parties say that it is in the hands of the government

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Given the strength of the mandate that the General Front has received from its members, the opposition parties for their part believe that the ball is now in the government’s court.

“These are historic strike votes, 95%, which is huge,” responded Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesman for Quebec Solider, who believes public sector workers “sent a very clear message to the government.”

“There is a fundamental principle for the government to agree with the unions,” he added. We should not become poor by working in our public services.

For his part, PQ MP Joël Arseneau believes the government now has “one knee on the ground”, especially given the state of public services.

“We are on the brink of collapse in health, education and child care,” he declared. “If the government is determined to put in place mechanisms to improve working conditions to improve services, the government will have the population behind it.”

As for the Liberals, they are asking Sonia Lebel to stop haggling in the public arena and focus on solving the problem.