Mediator appointed in Quebec construction commission labour dispute

Normand Gauthier will intervene in seven-week-long strike

Quebec Labour Minister Lisa Thériault has asked a mediator to assist in the dispute between the Construction Commission of Quebec (CCQ) and its striking workers.

Thériault has appointed former Deputy Minister of Labour Normand Gauthier to mediate discussions between the two parties.

The Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE) — the union representing the striking workers — asked Thériault to intervene and appoint a mediator after it said it could not foresee an agreement being reached through further negotiations.

Gauthier worked at the Ministry of Labour for 22 years, including spending time as a mediator-conciliator. After completing his term as deputy minister in 2001, Gauthier became chairman of the essential services council until 2007.

Both parties welcome Gauthier’s appointment and are hopeful a settlement can be reached before the construction holiday begins on July 22.

In June, the Quebec labour board ordered the CCQ to stop using the services of a consultant to complete work normally conducted by unionized workers.

The CCQ agreed to stop using the services of 25 replacement workers, according COPE.

Now in its seventh week, the strike by about 600 CCQ workers began on June 5 after 86 per cent of the membership voted against the organization’s final offer.

Key issues in the dispute are cuts to the pension plan and wage reductions.

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