Quebecers launch coalition against EI reform

A Quebec coalition of unions launched a province-wide campaign Monday to protest against the federal government's EI reform.

Giant banner hoisted at Jacques Cartier Bridge to kick off campaign

A coalition of unions plan protests across Quebec to fight federal EI reform, Salimah Shivji reports 2:13

A Quebec coalition of unions has launched a campaign against employment insurance reform, and to mark the event a large banner was hoisted in front of the Jacques Cartier Bridge, greeting Montreal commuters with a message against Ottawa's EI changes.

The large poster, hanging from a crane, showed a photo of Prime Minister Stephen Harper with French text that reads: "Quebecers say 'no' to the gutting of employment insurance."

Members of the new coalition

Labour Unions: FTQ, CSN, CSQ, CSD, SFPQ

Groups representing rights of unemployed individuals: MASSE, CNC

Reforms to employment insurance have spurred thousands to protest across Eastern Canada, many of them seasonal workers who believe the new rules are unfair.

The changes require workers to travel up to 100 kilometres and to accept jobs that pay as little as 70 per cent of their previous hourly wage — providing that is not below the province's minimum wage rate.

On Monday, representatives from five labour unions and the two main organizations representing unemployed people announced the launch of the new coalition in downtown Montreal.

"The government is blinded by its ideology. It's refusing to take into account the disastrous consequences of this reform," the coalition said in a statement.