In a press conference at the end of the CAQ [Coalition Avenir Québec] caucus on Friday, September 13, Prime Minister Legault declared that “the surplus belongs to Quebecers, they do not belong to pressure groups, they do not belong to the unions.”
According to Legault, despite budget surpluses that the government has accumulated for some time, if it is to respect its election promises there will be nothing left for the workers, despite their suffering through many lean years and decreases in real wages. For the next collective agreement, “we will have to be limited by the rate of inflation,” he ruled.
“Public service workers are also Quebecers,” countered union organizations, who condemned the bad faith and bullying of the government for intervening publicly in negotiations before they have officially begun and while the consultation process for formulating demands is still underway.
This round of public sector negotiations will undoubtedly be difficult because the fundamental mission of a government like CAQ is to keep wages low and drive down workers, in order to ensure hefty corporate profits. Its anti-immigrant and minority-based laws draw and build upon prejudice, and are nothing but an effort to win sympathy from those it is about to rob.
Translated and reprinted from Clarté