Quebec public sector strikes: More demonstrations held
Police arrest 22 people for mischief, draw link to public sector strikes
Hundreds of Quebec public sector workers held a demonstration near Montreal's World Trade Centre on Thursday as part of another round of rotating strikes, even after the province obtained an injunction to prevent them from blocking access to government buildings.
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The union representing parapublic workers organized the demonstration to call attention to stalled contract negotiations with the Quebec government.
22 arrested for mischief
Police arrested 22 people for mischief Thursday near Finance Minister Carlos Leitao's riding office in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.
Police said those arrested appear to be linked to demonstrations by public sector workers.
Police spokesman Sgt. Laurent Gingras said it's believed the suspects also entered Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Fournier's riding office in Saint-Laurent.
Both offices were defaced with stickers and papers were thrown around, Gingras said.
The suspects were released with summons to appear.
On Wednesday, Quebec superior court ruled in favour of an injunction that prohibits workers from parapublic agencies, such as RAMQ and SAQ, from blocking access to government buildings.
Teachers, health-care professionals and civil servants are on strike in nine different regions Thursday and Friday.
Parapublic agencies, comprised of 37,000 employees, are also holding province-wide walkouts.
Regions on strike for Nov. 12 and 13:
- Central Quebec
Stalled contract negotiations
The walkouts were planned in case negotiations with the Quebec government remained at an impasse.
Last Friday, Quebec labour unions rejected the provincial government's latest offer in contract negotiations, calling it "unacceptable."
The province is offering a three per cent salary hike spread out over five years. Public sectors workers are asking for 13 per cent.
"Three per cent over five years doesn't even cover the costs of living," said Lucie Chabot, the president of the CSQ.
Public sector workers have been without a collective agreement since April.
More strikes planned
The SPGQ, a union representing Quebec white-collar workers, has voted in favour of a strike mandate. It could start as early as Nov. 18 if negotiations continue to stall.
The union represents 17,000 public sector workers, 4,400 Revenu Québec employees and other governmental experts.
Montreal and Laval will hold public sector strikes on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17.
Four Montreal school boards have confirmed their teachers and support staff will go on strike those days as well: Commission scolaire de Montréal, Lester B. Pearson, English Montreal and Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys.
Strike dates are also planned for Dec. 1-3 province-wide.