Second day rotating strikes: Couillard refuses to retreat

manifestants-bloque-acces-palais-justiceOn the second day rotating strikes the common front disturbing activities in certain government building Tuesday, Prime Minister Philippe Couillard has appealed to the “sense of responsibility” of union leaders.

Reiterating that he wanted a negotiated settlement, Mr. Couillard said on the sidelines of an announcement in Montreal that the demonstrations do not penalize the government, but rather the citizens.

In Quebec City, including strikers have blocked access to the Complexe G, considered by many as the symbol of the civil service in the Old Capital. In the briefing, the President of the Public Service Union of Quebec, Lucie Martineau, criticized the government to show stubbornness.

On the side of Montreal, it was the court which was inaccessible.

Without questioning the relevance of the protests, the Prime Minister said he would be “very surprising” that the case can be resolved taking into account the government’s financial framework.

He recalled that budgetary constraints had not prevented the conclusion of an agreement with general practitioners, municipalities and recently at the Society of Quebec ferries.

The common front inter-union, which represents some 400,000 state employees, demanding increases of 4.5 percent per year for three years.

For its part, Quebec has two years of wage freeze, followed by increases of one percent per year for three years. He also wants to increase from 60 to 62 the age at which it will be possible to retire without penalty.

Mr. Couillard, who said he did not want to negotiate in public, felt that adding “one dollar in the collective agreement was not a guarantee of improved services.”

The Stopru