QUEBEC, Canada – Quebec’s striking crane operators have returned to work ending a six-day strike that began June 14th. The workers were protesting against industry initiated changes in government regulations that reduced training requirements that threatened worker and public safety.
Construction workers in Canada are challenging the growing demands from contractors and large corporations on government to reduce training, health and safety regulations. The crane operators’ strike paralyzed work at many of the province’s major construction projects, including the CHU mega-hospital in Québec and the Turcot Interchange project in Montreal. The Quebec Government denounced the strike as “irresponsible” and threatened to prosecute strikers.
Construction workers have increasing concern that big contractors continue to pocket massive profits while pushing for further concessions to speed-up projects putting workers’ safety at risk. Strick training and safety regulations are essential since construction projects are usually in densely populated areas and the consequences of accidents can be fatal.
Both the government and the media made much of the fact that the crane operators’ strike was “illegal,” because Quebec construction workers have “collective agreements” until 2021.