December 15, 2015
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Montreal—In the largest strike in Quebec since 1972, 400,000 government workers staged a one-day walkout Dec. 9, protesting government demands that they accept a one-year wage freeze in their next contract.
More than 40,000 marched through Montreal, and about 20,000, mostly teachers, demonstrated in the provincial capital of Quebec City. “We want to send a strong message of unity to the government and to tell them that the public supports us and that people are sick of the cuts,” said Dominique Daigneault, a leader with the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (Federation of National Unions). “We are not just numbers on a balance sheet. We provide important public services and deserve respect.
The strike, the largest in a series of work stoppages since September, closed schools, health centers, and many government offices throughout Quebec. White-collar city employees in Montreal, who have been working without a contract since 2011, staged a half-day strike, and teachers in French-language public schools began a three-day walkout, with some camping out outside the office of provincial Education Minister François Blais. Read more