Montreal white collar workers set to strike

The walkout includes 37 rotating strike days, including a general strike day planned for March 1 — the same day municipal taxes are due.

Rotating walkout includes 37 strike days after 4 years without collective agreement

The strike will affect two boroughs at a time, as well as different services and offices. (Radio-Canada)

The City of Montreal's 8,000 white collar workers will strike as of midnight to put pressure on city officials to negotiate a collective agreement.

The strike is one of 37 rotating strike days, including a general strike day planned for March 1 — the same day that municipal taxes are due.

White collar workers will also refuse to do any overtime hours as of Monday.

During strike days, all essential services like the police, fire department and 311 phone line will be maintained.

The rotating strike days will affect two boroughs at a time, as well as different non-essential services and offices.

On Monday, the boroughs of Ahunstic-Cartierville and Saint-Laurent will be affected, and the Info-travaux phone line (514-872-3777) will be out of service. The phone line will back in service on Tuesday.

On its website, the City has has published a list (French only) of when and where interruptions will take place.

The union's demands

Montreal's white collar workers have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2011.

The Syndicat des colsblancs de l'île de Montréal, the union representing white-collar workers, is asking for a salary increase and better working conditions. It has also denounced the practice of subcontracting work at the municipal level.

"Our demands are reasonable," said Marc Ranger, assistant-director of the Quebec chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

"We are asking to protect the jobs we have, to continue to provide services to citizens. Now the mayor has to choose between the possibility of a huge conflict or a fair agreement."

On his end, Mayor Denis Coderre said he has done his best to reach an agreement in good faith.

"We've made an offer, there is an open channel of communication," Coderre said.

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