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Two more Quebec unions may join strike action next week


With multiple unions set to strike next week, the possibility of another Quebec public sector strike is looming, this one involving provincial professionals and technicians.

Workers staged a noisy hockey-themed demonstration in downtown Montreal on Friday, complete with a ceremonial puck drop to take a jab at the Legault government after it offered the LA Kings $5 to $7 million to host two preseason games in the capital next season.

The public sector employees held the demonstration outside of the Sheraton Hotel where Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon was giving a speech to battery industry executives.

The public sector workers said they, too, need investment.

"The conditions are not there to give good service for the public," said Quebec Public and Parapublic Service Union president Christian Daigle. "That's the main message. We need get good conditions to give good services."

Government professionals and technicians are not part of the Common Front but are being offered the same 10.3 per cent raise over five years.

"That's not even covering their cost of living," said Quebec Government Professional Union (SPGQ) president Guillaume Bouvrette. "That's not even taking into account that professionals working for the provincial government are already underpaid when compared to municipal professionals or even federal agencies."

A strike vote is scheduled for next week, and if the union receives a mandate, it could mean tens of thousands more workers hitting the picket lines.

Parti Quebecois (PQ) leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said the workers deserve recognition.

"They deserve to be paid fairly and currently the offer from the government is impoverishment," he said.

Members from all three opposition parties attended Friday's rally and addressed the crowd.

"They have billions of dollars for the battery companies and off shores, but they don't have enough money for the people working as public servent and when they announced the $7 million for the Kings of LA," said Liberal Treasury Board critic Marwah Rizqy. "This is a billionaires' club. The real Kings are right here."

The union says many workers are leaving.

"They get out of the university. They're brilliant. They're motivated. They get a couple of years of experience and then they leave for better conditions elsewhere," said Bouvrette. "So we are losing this expertise and ultimately that's the public mission that's in question."

He said the offer currently on the table is insulting. Top Stories

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