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Quebec Common Front: province-wide strike December 9

Chantal Sundaram

December 7, 2015

The Quebec Common Front—which represents all the major trade union federations in Quebec, including more than 400,000 provincial government workers and broader public sector workers like healthcare professionals, nurses and teachers in CEGEPs and schools—has staged regional rotating strikes throughout the fall to challenge the Quebec government's public sector wage freeze and cuts to frontline services. These strikes and the support for them has been part of a larger movement against austerity which has seen mass demonstrations and countless community actions, including parents and CEGEP students who have formed human chains around their schools on a monthly basis.

The regional strikes were leading up to three days of all-out provincial strike on December 1, 2, and 3. But this was called off by the Common Front in an effort to get a deal, and the unions even reduced their salary demands by half. But this was rebuffed by the Liberals, and now the strike movement is back on, with a province-wide strike scheduled for December 9.

In fact, the job actions could continue beyond the 9th if there is no progress, according to the mandate the unions have from their members: "We are continuing to negotiate in good faith but if no tangible progress is seen at all of our tables, we will be on strike on December 9. And we will still have another two days of strike in our pocket if the government continues to turn a deaf ear," declared the spokespeople of the Common Front, Daniel Boyer (FTQ), Francine Levesque (CSN) and Louise Chabot (SISP). 

Although there has been little coverage of these actions in English Canada throughout the fall, The Hamilton District Labour Council and the Toronto and York Region Labour Council passed motions in support of the Common Front and the unions supporting it—as has the Chicago Teachers' Union, which a few years back made a similar effort to build active support for a legal strike over class size and other working conditions amongst parents and in the community.

There is unlikely to be much coverage of the December 9 strike in most English Canadian media, but you can count on to provide coverage and analysis of this critical movement against austerity.

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