Municipal workers in Gatineau are heading to Quebec City today to protest proposed changes to their pensions by the province.
Quebec’s Liberal government said in June they’ll be changing municipal pension plans to take on some of a $4 billion deficit in the provincial pension plan.
- Bill 3 hearings on pension reform begin today in Quebec City
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Unions said Bill 3 would take away the rights of municipal workers to negotiate about their working conditions.
They said they want negotiations in each municipality that are specific to that local deficit, if there is one – claiming there is no major pension deficit in some communities and it’s unfair to make workers there split the provincial deficit.
Shows of displeasure have included mass sick days and wearing flashy casual clothes instead of uniforms.
On Monday, hundreds of city workers in Montreal crashed their city hall, scattering papers and throwing water on councillors in protest.
Gatineau police union fears it can't compete for workers
Gatineau’s police union said their pension plan has helped them compete with lower salaries compared to Ottawa police officers, meaning the proposed changes would make it harder to hire new officers.
“Knowing that there was a law coming up like that, we’d rather have taken our salary raises, we’d compare and we’d be very close to Ottawa,” said Jean-Pierre Bussiere, head of la Fraternité des policiers de la Ville de Gatineau.
“Seems like our government, the provincial government, hands out one solution that they do bring out and impose to everybody.”
The provincial government said it’s open to negotiating with municipal workers over these pension changes, but doing so could take months.
Hearings on Bill 3 begin Thursday in Quebec City.
- On mobile? Click here to see Chloe Fedio's coverage of Bill 3 protesters in Gatineau.