Firefighters reach agreement in principle after years of labour strife
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, June 17, 2017 11:24AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 17, 2017 6:55PM EDT
Montreal’s firefighters gave their overwhelming approval to an agreement-in-principle on pensions that would end almost three years of labour strife on Friday night.
The plan received approval from 94 per cent of the 2,400 union members, according to a press release from union leaders.
The agreement allows for the restructuring of the firefighters’ pension plan in accordance with provisions of the Bill 15 Municipal Employees Retirement System Act. It also calls for the dropping of legal cases related to an altercation involving union members at Montreal’s city hall in August, 2014.
At the time, hundreds stormed the building, disrupting council meeting-- some councillors reportedly fed the scene.
Eventually, the protestors forced their way into council chambers, throwing things across rooms and desks, dumping water on furniture.
Outside in the continuing raucous, small fires were set.
As part of the agreement, pressure tactics by firefighters will come to an end.
Union president Ronald Martin said he is pleased with the deal but added he would have preferred coming to a negotiated agreement without the passing of the special law.
Bill 15 was passed on Dec. 5, 2014 and imposes a 50/50 split on the cost of municipal pension plans. Several unions challenged the bill in court.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre welcomed the firefighters’ announcement.
“This demonstrated that dialogue and good faith will bring parties together,” he said in a statement.
The agreement-in-principle will be submitted to Montreal’s Executive Committee on June 21 and will then have to be approved by both the city council and agglomeration council.