Talks continue in Quebec construction strike

MONTREAL — An alliance of construction trade unions and employers’ groups returned to the bargaining table Friday as Quebec’s construction strike kept work sites quiet for a third day.

The negotiations resumed with a provincially appointed conciliator at the table, one day after Premier Philippe Couillard signalled he would begin the process of adopting back-to-work legislation Monday if there is no agreement.

About 175,000 workers launched the unlimited general strike on Wednesday, crippling activity on major projects such as the Champlain Bridge and a Montreal superhospital.

Work schedules and overtime are believed to be at the heart of the conflict in the industrial sector, while salaries are the main stumbling block in the residential sector.

This is the second general strike in the Quebec construction industry in four years.

Talks that resumed late Thursday and centred on issues like insurance, pension and leaves extended into the early morning hours but were qualified as a failure by both sides.

Union spokesman Michel Trepanier said those core issues are “extremely important for workers” as they concern all sectors.

Eric Cote, a spokesman for the Quebec Construction Association, one group of employers, said representatives for his group emerged early Friday suggesting those talks were a waste of time.

Despite the lack of traction, Trepanier said he has his fingers crossed.

“I hope we will be able to get out of this with a negotiated agreement in all sectors, for all of our workers in the construction industry,” he said, adding the union is ready to negotiate day and night to avoid any back-to-work law.

“If it takes the whole weekend, it will take the whole weekend.”

In Quebec City, Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee blamed Couiillard and Labour Minister Dominique Vien for their “mismanagement of this negotiating process.”

“The minister has been absent and inactive for too long,” Lisee said, adding the threat of legislation was invoked too soon. He argued the rumblings began even before the workers went on strike.

Just Posted

Blackfalds firefighter battling cancer

A volunteer firefighter in Blackfalds for 15 years, Dave Sutherland now battling… Continue reading

Red Deer transit users are concerned about the future

But recreation centre users are glad facility hours were maintained

Community cardiac awareness dinner and show to be held

Continued focus to bring cardiac catheterization lab to Red Deer

Red Deer businesses react to 2.02 per cent tax increase for 2018

Chamber would prefer zero increase, while DBA thinks it’s reasonable

Bring on the rodeo says Red Deer County mayor

Canadian Finals Rodeo’s move to Red Deer good for whole region, says Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month