Quebec construction sites hit with wild-cat strikes

Workers protesting bill intended to change hiring process in sector

Quebec construction workers walked off the job at a number of construction sites across the province on Oct. 24. The demonstrations are a continuation of the walkouts held at several sites on Oct. 21.

The workers are protesting Bill 33, which would end the practice of construction unions deciding who may work on construction projects in Quebec. It would also force unions to share financial information with the public for outside audits and public scrutiny.

The provincial government is scheduled to begin parliamentary hearings on the bill today.

There has not been official comment by any of Quebec's unions regarding the work stoppages, but Michel Arsenault, president of the province’s largest labour group, the Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ), has called the proposed law useless. The FTQ also represents most of Quebec’s construction workers and has already launched an advertising campaign against the proposal.

The province's leading employer association, the Quebec Employers Council, denounced the walkouts last week, calling them illegal strikes. The president of the council, Yves-Thomas Dorval, said workers should voice concerns by speaking at this week’s hearings in the National Assembly rather than walking off the job illegally.

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