Quebec provincial park staff threaten to strike during construction holiday

SEPAQ, the provincial agency that manages the parks, maintains all of its sites will remain open if employees go on strike but says some services will be affected.

SEPAQ maintains all of its sites will remain open during strike action

Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier is one of 23 parks where staff will be on strike as of July 20. (Maxime Corneau/Radio-Canada)

The union representing Quebec provincial park employees is planning to launch an unlimited general strike on July 20, affecting almost all of the parks operated by the province.

SEPAQ, the provincial agency that manages the parks, says all 23 affected parks will remain open, should the strike proceed.

Some services, however, would be affected, including food services, water sport equipment rental, beaches and guided activities.

The union's 2,000 members voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike mandate earlier this month. The workers, members of the Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec, rejected a new salary offer from management this week.

Provincial park employees with the union SFPQ voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike mandate. (Dominic Martel/Radio-Canada)

After five months of negotiations, the union says the government's salary offer doesn't cover the rising cost of living, and many employees are making between $13 and $14 per hour.

"We don't want to go on strike," said Christian Daigle, the union's president. "There's time still to avoid this strike action."

Daigle said he understands that people on holiday will be inconvenienced, but "now is the time to negotiate."

"It's not in the months of January and February that we can strike and have an impact," he said.

For now, the wildlife reserves in the public parks network won't be affected.

Some 300 park employees are set to walk off the job July 17, with 1,500 more joining their ranks on July 20.

If the strike action goes ahead, the following parks will be affected starting July 17:

  • Montmorency Falls.
  • Lac-Simon tourist centre.
  • Lac-Kénogami tourist centre.
  • Voltigeurs camping site.

The following 23 parks will be affected as of July 20:

  • Parc national d'Aiguebelle.
  • Parc national du Bic.
  • Parc national Frontenac.
  • Parc national de la Gaspésie.
  • Parc national des Grands-Jardins.
  • Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé.
  • Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville.
  • Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier.
  • Parc national Miguasha.
  • Parc national du Mont-Mégantic.
  • Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie.
  • Parc national d'Anticosti.
  • Parc national de Plaisance.
  • Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata.
  • Parc national d'Opémican.
  • Parc national du Mont-Orford.
  • Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno.
  • Parc national du Mont-Tremblant.
  • Parc national des Monts-Valin.
  • Parc national d'Oka.
  • Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon.
  • Parc national du Saguenay.
  • Parc national de la Yamaska.
  • Gîte du Mont-Albert.