Montreal workers dress down to protest pension bill

Municipal workers donned everything from camouflage pants to beach shorts to protest proposed changes to their pension plans.

Bill 3 would put city employees and some retirees on the hook for $4B shortfall

This STM bus driver donned a pair of Hawaiian beach shorts to protest against the Quebec government's pension bill. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Municipal workers in Montreal and across the province are adding some extra flair to their normal work clothes to show their opposition to the provincial government's pension bill.

On Friday, Montreal bus drivers were spotted wearing everything from straw hats to beach shorts. 

Police and firefighters gathered outside Montreal city hall around noon on Friday to protest the pension bill. (Raffy Boudjikanian/CBC)

Police officers were among those who led the movement, trading their regular slacks for jeans and camouflage pants. Blue collar and white collar workers are expected to join in starting next week.

Around noon, firefighters and police gathered to picket outside Montreal city hall, some of them throwing their work shirts onto the building's front steps.

The union coalition — Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation — brought a birthday cake to the protest, as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Mayor Denis Coderre's birthday, which was Friday. 

The union coalition — Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation — brought a birthday cake to Friday's protest, as a tongue in cheek reference to Mayor Denis Coderre's birthday. (Raffy Boudjikanian/CBC)

The pressure tactics are the latest technique being used by workers to protest Bill 3 — which proposes to alter municipal pension plans.

According to Marc Ranger, spokesman for the Coalition syndicale pour la librenégociation, the uniform changes are part of a summer-long campaign.

Montreal's bus drivers, parking attendants, police officers and firefighters were sporting a more casual look than normal on Friday. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

“We’re upping our pressure one notch against municipalities, without compromising the services offered to the public,” Ranger said.

The bill is aimed at reforming the province’s municipal pension plans to address a close to $4 billion deficit.

If passed, the legislation would put city employees and some retirees on the hook for pension shortfalls.