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Quebec police wear jeans or camo pants in protest over contract talks

Montreal police officers wore camouflage pants in 2014 during negotiations on their contract. The Surete du Quebec is set to use the same tactic starting Dec. 7, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes Montreal police officers wore camouflage pants in 2014 during negotiations on their contract. The Surete du Quebec is set to use the same tactic starting Dec. 7, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
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Police officers with the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) will start wearing camouflage pants or jeans during working hours on Thursday, amid dissatisfaction with progress in their negotiations with the government over their next collective agreement.

In September, the 5,700 members of the Association des policières et policiers provinciaux du Québec (APPQ) rejected by nearly 60 per cent the agreement in principle reached with the Treasury Board. The agreement provided for wage increases of 21 per cent over five years.

In a press release, the union said it had met with the employer on Oct. 13 to put forward its "demands for a new agreement in principle."

It was not satisfied with the response it received on Wednesday.

At the meeting, the government was unable to demonstrate its willingness to reach an agreement by improving on the first agreement, which was rejected by the members.

"The APPQ demands following the rejection of the first agreement in principle remain without a favourable response for the time being," explained APPQ president Jacques Painchaud in writing. "Given the situation, we, unfortunately, have no choice but to resort to a means of visibility that conveys a message of dissatisfaction."

Wearing coloured pants is a pressure tactic that has often been used by police officers to express their dissatisfaction during negotiations. The provincial government, then led by the Liberals, passed a law to ban them in 2017, but it was struck down by the Superior Court last summer.

The SQ police officers' employment contract expired on March 31, 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 6, 2023. 

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