Strike of engineers: Quebec raises the spectre of traffic jams monsters

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Archives The Duty
The roadside inspections, which will be done in a day, will cause significant traffic congestion, warned Quebec.

The government Couillard is intensifying the pressure on its 1400 engineers to renew their collective agreement, which expired two years ago.


The president of the treasury Board, Pierre Arcand, has shown signs of impatience at a press conference Tuesday, insisting that the time had come to enter into an agreement, failing which the Quebecois were going to be caught in massive traffic jams as early as this week.


Mr. Arcand has, however, kept raising the spectre of a special law.


The dispute concerns, in particular, the general inspections of 25 bridges, culverts, viaducts, interchanges and access ramps to Montreal and on the South Shore of Quebec as the engineers refuse to do it at night.


The members of the Association of professional engineers of the government of Quebec (APIGQ), which aim a catch-up salary of about 20 % over seven years, strike in the extra time since mid-September. They refuse including working outside office hours.


The inspections, which will be done in a day, will cause significant traffic congestion, warned Mr. Arcand, who was accompanied on Tuesday by the Transport minister, André Fortin.


“Road users will pay in the next few days a means of pressure,” said Mr. Arcand, inviting ” strongly for the union to consider very seriously the latest offers from the government “, which hover around 9 % over seven years.


“The government cannot tolerate such a situation. The citizens – in fact, especially those in Montreal and in the Quebec city region – already know enough of the issues of transport and mobility without adding other. “


On Monday, the administrative Court of labour (TAT) has denied the government’s request to consider the general inspections as an essential service.


In its decision, the STATE even suggests that the time limits imposed by the government for inspections in general are artificial. “A delay of a few months is not significant in the context of the inspection program, especially on the 25 remaining structures that have clearly not been prioritized in the overall analysis of the beginning of the year. Moreover, the cut-off dates announced in the request are not truly. In short, the essential nature and urgency alleged is not proved “, is it written.


Mr. Fortin has also assured on Tuesday that the 25 structures in question were ” safe “, but it said that it wished to adhere to the established schedule.


“It is a question of maintaining in good condition, it is a question of maintaining the security of this structure-there”,-he said.


The president of the APIGQ, Marc-André Martin, was not formalized Tuesday of the ” threat thinly veiled special law “.


“There is no hurry to sign a bad deal, it’s been three years that we are negotiating “, he argued in a telephone interview.


Moreover, the leader of the Parti québécois, Jean-François Lisée, has accused the government of its “failure to settle in good faith” with the engineers.


“[It] boggles the mind, and, when compared to the generosity they have towards the doctors, specialists, and family physicians, it is as if we were in two worlds “, said the head of the parti québecois.


“The arrival of a new special law would be a failure once again of the ability of the government to reach an agreement with its employees,” he added.


A meeting with the engineers is scheduled for Wednesday. The government emphasizes that it has already agreed to, with nearly 510,000 employees in the public and parapublic sectors for the renewal of collective agreements, which represents approximately 96 % of the unionized staff.


The engineers refuse to conduct an inspection of the 25 structures out of office hours.

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