Unions ready for battle; Charest government is ‘anti-union’: CSQ

By Kevin Dougherty, The Gazette, Saturday 29 June 2003

In what outgoing Centrale des syndicats du Québec president Monique Richard called a good practice demonstration, about 1,000 members of the CSQ, which represents teachers, day-care workers and other public sector employees, demonstrated outside the National Assembly yesterday.

In the weeks, the months and the years to come there will be lot more like it, Richard warned, attacking initial moves by the Liberal government of Premier Jean Charest, which threaten universal day care and other social programs dear to the CSQ membership.

The CSQ and other labour unions will soon begin talks with the government to renew their collective agreements and the unions will also sit down with the Quebec treasury board at a separate table to renegotiate the current pay equity deal for public sector employees.

Richard criticized the government for introducing anti-union legislation to prevent home day-care workers from unionizing, its plans to abolish regional health boards, forced demergers and a planning process for high school reform that excludes teachers.

Jean Charest is bringing us down, she said. In the last two months we have gone back 30 years.

Véronique Mercier, spokesperson for Treasury Board President Monique Jérôme-Forget, said Quebec is living up to its equity commitments and will pay $80 million tomorrow to qualified candidates among Quebec's 345,000 public sector employees.

Further payments in 2004 and 2005 will bring the total to $210 million, Mercier said.