Construction strike threat in Québec

By Chris Sleight24 August 2010

Talks are underway between employers and unions to avert a mass walkout of construction workers across Québec on 30 August. The Alliance represents 146000 construction workers in the province, who are protesting at being without a pay agreement since the end of April.

The Alliance Syndicale de la construction, which represents workers, says it would prefer to avert a strike. Spokesman Donald Fortin said, "It is in the interest of everyone to agree before being forced to resort to the general strike."

The Alliance claims that the lack of a pay agreement has led to workers missing out on some CA$ 40 million (US$ 38 million) in salary and benefits proposed by union negotiators.

However, L'Association de la Construction du Québec (ACQ), which represents 15000 construction companies has accused the union of greed, and has criticised its tactics.

The situation is complicated by the fact that the ACQ divides the industry into four sub-sectors, which it says have different dynamics and economic drivers, while the Alliance is thought to be seeking an umbrella pay agreement for all construction workers.

While talks continue, Alliance members will work to rule ahead of the 30 August deadline. It has been reported that this action has seen some sites in the province, including some in Montreal, shut down.

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