Impatience with engineering union    is at its peak

Impatience with engineering union is at its peak

After 10 offers from the government and now almost 300 sites affected, the impatience of several ministers towards the engineering union, which denies the road infrastructure has been taken hostage, is at its peak.

• Also read: Almost 300 construction sites affected by engineer strike

As reported on our pages, 278 road works had to be suspended on Wednesday due to the strike by 1,800 engineers from the state of Quebec, which began on March 21.

Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel, who told our parliamentary office that many of these delays “will be irreparable,” added a layer of it when she arrived at the weekly Ministerial Council meeting.

“We cannot accept, year after year, negotiation after negotiation, that the engineers take the construction sites hostage! At some point we have to go to the end of the process,” she pounded.

Impatience with the engineers' union is at its peak

PHOTO Agency QMI, Marcel Tremblay

When asked about the use of a special law to enforce working conditions and end the industrial dispute, Ms. LeBel first told reporters, “I’m not in it,” without ruling out the possibility.

Then “we’re not there at all and it’s not in the plans,” she clarified a little later in a written statement to the Journal.


“There will definitely be delays. Most of the construction sites should have started a few weeks ago, so we ask the engineers to return to the negotiating table,” commented Transport Minister François Bonnardel.

Transport Minister Chantal Rouleau also regretted the impact on several road construction sites in the Montreal area for which she is responsible.

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This applies in particular to the planned works in the Ville-Marie and Viger tunnels in Montreal and in the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel.

“The government has made many and many proposals,” stressed Ms. Rouleau. At some point you have to be consistent and recognize that this type of gesture (the strike), well, it has an impact, of course on the infrastructure, but (also) on the citizens. We have to come to a common ground.”

The union is fighting back

“It’s not me who’s holding the infrastructure hostage,” defended the president of the Quebec Government Engineers Association (APIGQ), Marc-André Martin, who has accused the government of

“They take the same handful of change, mix it up and put it back on the table,” explained the union leader, who is calling for fairer treatment of all his members in relation to market conditions.

Impatience with the engineers' union is at its peak

PHOTO Agency QMI, Marcel Tremblay

Contrary to what Secretary LeBel claims, Mr. Martin believes it is the government that lacks seriousness in its approach.

“They sent a new negotiator… He arrived, no pencil, no paper,” the union leader said.

“It’s not serious,” Ms. LeBel wanted to react. I can’t believe we’re talking about a forgotten pencil when there are important issues to be resolved. It would make more sense to come to a table and negotiate.”