Quebec unions oppose idea of cancelling construction holidays due to COVID-19 pandemic
Published Wednesday, April 1, 2020 2:24PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 1, 2020 9:16PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Unions representing the bulk of Quebec's construction workers have come out against the idea of cancelling Quebec's traditional two-week construction summer holiday and giving workers their vacation pay now.
FTQ-Construction and the Conseil Provincial du Quebec des metiers de la construction, which together represent 70 per cent of construction workers in Quebec, said they consulted their members on the idea - which has been publicly floated by some as a way to help construction workers deal with the financial impact of COVID-19 - and more than 80 per cent of them were opposed.
The unions also said in a statement that cancelling the construction holidays, which this year are scheduled to run from July 19 to Aug. 1, is "an extreme measure, considering that there are provisions to allow employers to negotiate on a case-by-case basis with the rules already in place."
The unions added that the priority right now is to find a way " to resume activities in the industry as soon as possible in a healthy and safe manner, by respecting the principles of social distancing, washing hands, isolation and healthiness of which the premier and the national director of public health have spoken to us about" since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
"Right now, people are not on vacation," said Eric Boisjoly, director-general of FTQ-Construction. "They are confined to situations of anxiety or illness and are taking care of their loved ones, which is far from a favourable time to rest.
"The construction holiday is essential not only for work-family balance but also for the health of workers."