Quebec’s controversial pension reform legislation, Bill 3, passed into law last week. The law divvies up responsibility for paying down governments $3.9 billion pension debt 50-50 between employers and employees. As a result, employees now shoulder more of the burden for paying down pension debt in the form of higher contributions.
Now, union leaders are speaking out against the law and planning their next moves. Union leaders say government officials have “started a fire”. From the Montreal Gazette:
“We’re more determined than ever,” Marc Ranger, spokesperson for the Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation, told a press conference at the Crémazie Blvd. E. headquarters of the Quebec Federation of Labour.
“We will target municipal administrations, that’s for sure,” he said.
“Most of these mayors will not find this funny in the months to come.”
Ranger did not specify what the pressure tactics would be, but promised that after the Christmas break, municipal employees would take action that will make the public sit up and take notice.
However, he said the coalition, representing 65,000 firefighters, police officers, transport workers, blue-collar workers and white-collar employees, will steer clear of illegal actions like the Aug. 18 ransacking of city hall, which has resulted in criminal charges.
Bill 3, calling for negotiations with unions on underfunded pension plans and a 50-50 sharing of costs to refinance plans that are in the red, is the government’s response to a $3.9-billion pension shortfall.
He added that the union is prepared to take its legal challenge to the pension bill to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“They’ve started a fire. Now it’s up to them to put it out,” he said.
Read more coverage of Bill 3 here.